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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wade, Heat handle 76ers


PHILADELPHIA — Hours before Game 3, Dwyane Wade had that big-game feeling.

News photo
Boxed in: Philadelphia's Elton Brand is guarded by Miami's Chris Bosh (center) and LeBron James in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series on Thursday night. The Heat won 100-94 and lead the series 3-0. AP PHOTO

Wade's 36 miserable hours of migraine headaches had passed, his head was clear and his game, well, he would prove his game was back in championship form.

"I don't have to worry about bright lights," Wade said.

Was he ever fantastic under the postseason spotlight.

Wade had 32 points and 10 rebounds, LeBron James finished with 24 points and 15 boards and the Miami Heat took a 3-0 lead in their first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers with a 100-94 victory Thursday night.

"I felt a lot better," Wade said. "My game felt better. I think my teammates could see it."

The Heat saw it from the opening tip. Wade was driving, attacking, dunking — playing his game at full blast the way he couldn't in Game 2. He even fought through another familiar malady, a banged-up shoulder that needed ice and treatment.

Wade delivered with a string of big baskets — he was 10 of 19 from the field overall — in the third and fourth quarters that spurred Miami to the brink of the conference semifinals. He drew a foul on a spin move against Jrue Holiday and hit two free throws with 51.6 seconds left that about clinched the game.

Wade missed practice before Game 2 with a migraine headache. He was slowed in Game 2 by the lingering effects of the headache and scored a combined 31 points in the first two games.

"He understood we needed something a little bit more," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Holiday scored 20 points, Lou Williams finished with 15 and Elton Brand had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the 76ers.

Bulls 88, Pacers 84

Indianapolis, Derrick Rose scored 23 points, including the go-ahead layup with 17.8 seconds left, to help Chicago take a 3-0 lead in the first-round series.

Indiana's Danny Granger had a chance to win it at the end, but he missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds. He led the Pacers with 21 points.

Trail Blazers 97, Mavericks 92

In Portland, Wesley Matthews had 25 points and Portland cut Dallas' lead in the first-round playoff series to 2-1.

Jason Terry had 29 points for the Mavericks, including five 3-pointers.

LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 20 points for the Blazers, while Brandon Roy had 16 off the bench.

Love garners honor

Minneapolis AP

Kevin Love has the NBA's Most Improved Player award. Now the challenge is to help his Minnesota Timberwolves become next season's most improved team.

There's nowhere to go but up for the Wolves, whose 17-65 record was the worst in the league. That didn't keep Love from making the All-Star team and adding to his trophy collection with the MIP award on Thursday.

"Kevin deserves an enormous amount of credit, not only for what he accomplished on the court but for the kind of dedication and the fortitude he exhibited a year ago today all the way through last summer," said David Kahn, the team's basketball boss.

Love was a runaway winner, getting 66 of a possible 116 first-place votes and 400 points from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NBA. LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers was second with 157 points.

Love averaged 20.2 points and led the league with 15.2 rebounds per game this season.

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