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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

James turns up heat on Celtics

MIAMI (AP) If this was an Eastern Conference semifinals preview, then the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics showed what to expect.

News photo
On fire: Heat forward LeBron James attempts a jump shot over Celtics forward Paul Pierce during their game on Sunday in Miami. AP PHOTO

Few pleasantries. Pushing and shoving. And maybe a Game 7 in Miami.

LeBron James scored 27 points, Dwyane Wade added 14 and the Heat moved closer to the No. 2 seed in the East playoffs Sunday by beating the sliding Celtics 100-77.

"It was a playoff-atmosphere type of game, from the fans to both teams' approach to what the game meant," Wade said. "It had that feel."

Miami moved a game ahead of Boston, trimming its magic number to clinch the second seed to two. The teams will finish second and third in some order behind Chicago in the East, slotted to play in the conference semifinals.

"We'd like to play them, I can tell you that," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "And we may have to if we want to go somewhere."

Chris Bosh added 13 points and eight rebounds for Miami, which had been 0-3 against Boston this season, though Heat coach Erik Spoelstra cautioned against overstating the win's importance.

"We proved we can beat them tonight," Spoelstra said. "That's about it, in my mind."

Paul Pierce scored 24 points and Kevin Garnett added 21 for Boston, which lost for the 10th time in its last 19 games. The Celtics were outrebounded 42-26, and outscored 44-26 in the paint.

"What else do you expect? It's Boston-Miami," Garnett said. "Supposedly it's two of, if not the top two, teams in the East. You have to expect that. You have to expect that coming in here you're not going to get the call. You had to expect their passion — a team you have beaten three times."

The Heat finally solved the Boston hex, beating the Celtics for the third time in the last 21 meetings. Bosh had been 1-13 against Boston since March 2007, and the Celtics ended both the 2009-10 seasons for Wade and James.

Bulls 102, Magic 99

In Orlando, Derrick Rose had 39 points and five assists, and Luol Deng added 15 points.

Grizzlies 111, Hornets 89

In Memphis, O.J. Mayo scored 18 points, Marc Gasol added 16 and the Grizzlies continued their march to the postseason.

Pistons 112, Bobcats 101

In Charlotte, Rodney Stuckey scored 24 points, fellow reserve Charlie Villanueva added 20 and Detroit recovered from a terrible start.

Raptors 99, Nets 92

In Toronto, Jerryd Bayless scored 19 points and James Johnson had a season-high 18.

Thunder 120, Lakers 106

In Los Angeles, Kevin Durant scored 31 points, Russell Westbrook added 26 and Oklahoma City sent the Lakers to their fifth straight loss.

Knicks 110, Pacers 109

In Indianapolis, Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points, making the go-ahead jumper with 4.9 seconds left and blocking a potential winning attempt.

Mavericks 115, Suns 90

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion led the Mavs over Phoenix, keeping alive hopes of snagging the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Kings 104, Warriors 103

In Oakland, Calif., Marcus Thornton scored 21 points and made several big shots late.

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