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Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011

Cole's late hot streak lifts Heat over Celtics

AP

MIAMI — Norris Cole stepped to the foul line with 9.3 seconds left, set to clinch the game as cries of "M-V-P" rained down upon him from the sold-out stands.

News photo
Break on through: New Jersey's Kris Humphries tries to drive past Atlanta's Zaza Pachulia during the Hawks' 106-70 win on Tuesday. AP

No, this wasn't a scene from his days at Cleveland State.

Taking over in just his second NBA game — and with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all on the floor, no less — Cole scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including three huge jumpers down the stretch to save the Heat in a 115-107 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.

"You grow up and live for moments like that," Cole said.

James scored 26 points, Wade had 24 points, eight assists and four blocks, and Bosh scored 18 for the Heat, which led by 20 points midway through the third quarter before having its lead twice sliced to three points in the final minutes. And both times, Cole took passes from James and knocked down jumpers, keeping short-handed Boston at bay.

"He's got savvy," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Great pickup."

Ray Allen scored 28 points on 8-for-12 shooting for the Celtics, while Rajon Rondo finished with 22 points and 12 assists and Keyon Dooling scored 18 off the Boston bench.

Through two games, Miami (2-0) has trailed only once — by two points, for all of 14 seconds. Boston turned the ball over 24 times, and Miami turned those into 33 points.

"Any team you turn the ball over that much they're going to score on you," Allen said. "We just have to settle in on both ends of the floor. Whether you score or not, they're going to run down your throats."

Lakers 96, Jazz 71

In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 22 points and nine rebounds, and the Lakers avoided just the fourth 0-3 start in franchise history with a victory over Utah.

Metta World Peace scored 14 points for the Lakers, who had much more life than the Jazz despite playing their third game in three nights to open the season.

Los Angeles ran away with a dominant third quarter, making a 27-8 surge out of halftime in the club's first win for new coach Mike Brown.

Hawks 106, Nets 70

In Newark, New Jersey, Marvin Williams had 14 points and nine rebounds and the Atlanta Hawks opened a double-digit lead early and cruised to a victory over the sluggish Nets in their final home opener in New Jersey.

Jeff Teague added 13 points, Joe Johnson had 11 and the Hawks got big games off the bench from Zaza Pachulia (13 points and 11 rebounds) and Vladimir Radmanovic (17 points) in finally opening the lockout-delayed season by embarrassing the Nets in a game in which the crowd was booing the Brooklyn-bound team by halftime.

Bucks 98, Timberwolves 95

In Milwaukee, rookie Jon Leuer converted a three-point play with 1:17 left, helping the Bucks hold off Minnesota in their home opener.

Brandon Jennings scored 24 points and Stephen Jackson added 16 for the Bucks, who were playing without forward Drew Gooden because of a suspension and several other key players because of injuries.

Blazers 101, Kings 79,

In Portland, Gerald Wallace had 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists, leading the Blazers to a victory over Sacramento.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and eight rebounds for the Blazers (2-0). Nicolas Batum added 15 points and five rebounds off the bench.



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