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Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012

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I'll take that: Heat forward Udonis Haslem (right) battles Hawks center Zaza Pachulia for the ball on Thursday in Atlanta. Miami won 116-109 in triple overtime. AP

Bosh carries Heat in triple OT without Wade, James


ATLANTA — There may be no need for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to rush their return from injuries.

Mario Chalmers and Chris Bosh proved Thursday night they can play the starring roles for the Miami Heat.

With James and Wade cheering from the bench, Bosh scored 33 points and the Heat beat the Atlanta Hawks 116-109 in triple-overtime.

Chalmers had 22 of his 29 points after the third quarter for the Heat, including five of Miami's seven points in the third overtime.

"Coach said I had to be aggressive," Chalmers said.

Wade missed his second straight game with a sore left foot and James was held out after he turned his left ankle late in the third quarter of Wednesday night's 118-83 win over Indiana. Neither star was in uniform.

Bosh hit a last-second, tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation to force the first overtime.

"It was a lucky shot," Bosh said.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said his team survived a test of its character.

"That game, the way it went down in the end, was an exercise in absolute endurance and mental and physical toughness," Spoelstra said.

"Both teams played their hearts out there at the end."

Joe Johnson had 20 points for the Hawks, who did not score in the third extra period. It was only the 10th time in NBA history a team did not score in an overtime period.

Hawks coach Larry Drew said his players ignored his warning against a letdown if James and Wade didn't play.

"There was a total, total mental letdown," Drew said. "I didn't see the sense of urgency I saw in Miami," Drew said. "The tendency is to let your guard down, and we certainly did tonight."

Kings 103, Bucks 100

In Sacramento, Tyreke Evans made four free throws in the final minute to finish with 26 points, and the Kings overcame a 21-point halftime deficit to stun Milwaukee.

Spurs 93, Mavericks 71

In San Antonio, Matt Bonner scored 17 points and the Spurs limited Dirk Nowitzki to just six in a win over Dallas.

Trail Blazers 107, Lakers 96

In Portland, Gerald Wallace had 31 points and sparked a key third-quarter run to lead the Trail Blazers to a fast-paced victory over Los Angeles.

Kings fire coach Westphal


SACRAMENTO CALIFORNIA — If the Sacramento Kings stood any chance at success this season, Paul Westphal had to find a way to control talented but volatile center DeMarcus Cousins.

He couldn't — and lost his job because of it.

The Kings fired Westphal Thursday after two-plus seasons as coach, cutting ties amid a slow start and an escalating dispute with Cousins.

Assistant Keith Smart, let go by the Golden State Warriors in April after one season at the helm, signed a deal to become the team's new head coach.

With the Cousins-Westphal spat showing no resolution, Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof finally decided to take action.

Instead of trading away a promising young big man, they made Westphal the first firing of the lockout-shortened season.

"We're in a situation here where you can't take a philosophical vacation because things are happening in real time," Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie said. "You start to keep seeing the same things over and over again, you can't sit around and meditate forever about how you're going to approach them or try and change them."

A talented and athletic — albeit raw — roster entered Thursday night's home game against Milwaukee with a 2-5 record and in last place in the Pacific Division. Westphal finished with a 51-120 record in Sacramento.

In a statement released by the team, Westphal thanked the Maloofs, his coaching staff and players for the opportunity.

"While the job is far from finished, I am proud of the strides we were able to make," he said.

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