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Friday, Jan. 6, 2012

James picks up slack as Heat beat Pacers without Wade


MIAMI — The Miami Heat hardly missed Dwyane Wade on Wednesday night. LeBron James had a lot to do with that.

News photo
Total eclipse: Phoenix's Steve Nash (right) reaches for the ball during the Mavericks' 98-89 win over the Suns on Wednesday. AP PHOTO

Now, the Heat can only hope both superstars won't be on the bench Thursday in Atlanta.

James had 33 points and 13 assists, Chris Bosh added 22 points and Miami routed the Indiana Pacers 118-83 on Wednesday even without Wade.

James also grabbed eight rebounds and the Heat turned up the defensive intensity minus their All-Star guard. Wade sat out with a sore left foot, and his status for Thursday's game at Atlanta is uncertain.

Wade, a six-time All-Star, injured his foot in the second quarter at Charlotte on Dec. 28. He missed the first 10 minutes of the third period but played regular minutes the rest of the game and in the two that followed. He skipped Wednesday's shootaround, though.

The Heat had a scare late in the third quarter when James went down underneath the basket with a left ankle injury. He also is questionable for Thursday.

"It's been better, but it feels OK right now," James said. "We'll see how I feel in the morning."

James appeared to step on the foot of Indiana's Paul George while attempting a fast-break layup. After staying on the court for a few seconds James got to his feet, prompting applause from the sellout crowd, and resumed breaking down the Pacers.

Still, the Heat could be without two of their three big stars in Atlanta.

"We will have to see," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said when asked if James would play Thursday. "He has sprained that same ankle every year, he says at least one time a year."

Roy Hibbert had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Pacers. Tyler Hansbrough scored 14.

Indiana, a fashionable pick to be one of the surprise teams in the East, had a miserable second quarter, going 1-for-15 from the field and committing 10 turnovers that Miami turned into 10 points.

"Lack of execution, missed open shots and their defense — it was a combination of everything," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "A perfect storm."

Bulls 99, Pistons 83

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Richard Hamilton scored 14 points in his return to The Palace, and Chicago shut down Detroit.

Hamilton started after missing the previous two games with a sore left groin. He received a warm welcome from Detroit fans, many of whom stood and applauded the veteran guard who spent nine years with the Pistons before being waived prior to this season.

Bobcats 118, Knicks 110

In New York, Boris Diaw rebounded from a dreadful game a night earlier with a season-high 27 points, and Charlotte snapped a four-game losing streak with a victory over the Knicks.

Mavericks 98, Suns 89

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points in his 1,000th NBA game to lead the Mavericks over Phoenix.

Spurs 101, Warriors 95

In San Antonio, Tony Parker scored the Spurs' final six points to lead his team past Golden State.

Celtics 89, Nets 70

In Boston, Paul Pierce scored nine of his 24 points during a game-breaking, third-quarter run and Avery Bradley hit his first career 3-pointer.

Raptors 92, Cavaliers 77

In Toronto, Andrea Bargnani scored 31 points and the Raptors beat Cleveland for their second straight win.

Magic 103, Wizards 85

In Orlando, Dwight Howard had 28 points and 20 rebounds, Ryan Anderson added 23 points and 15 rebounds and the Magic ran past winless Washington.

76ers 101, Hornets 93

In New Orleans, Jrue Holiday scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter.

Grizzlies 90, Timberwolves 86

In Minneapolis, Rudy Gay had 19 points and eight rebounds, lifting Memphis over Minnesota in its first game since learning Zach Randolph would be out for six to eight weeks.

Nuggets 110, Kings 83

In Denver, Al Harrington scored 15 points, Rudy Fernandez had 12 points to go with eight assists and the Nuggets won their third straight.

Clippers 117, Rockets 89

In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin had 22 points and nine assists before sitting out most of the fourth quarter, Chris Paul added 20 points and 10 assists, and the Clippers cruised past Houston.

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