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Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012

Rose lets Heat off hook with late missed chances


MIAMI — The odds had to overwhelmingly be in Chicago's favor. Down by a point with 22.7 seconds left, with Derrick Rose heading to the line to shoot a pair of free throws.

News photo
With authority: Heat forward LeBron James dunks against the Bulls on Sunday in Miami. The Heat won 97-93. AP

The reigning NBA MVP. He was a perfect 29 for 29 from the foul line in the fourth quarter this season. As if this moment needed extra significance, it was coming against the Miami Heat, the team that downed Rose and the Bulls in last season's Eastern Conference finals by taking the series' last four games.

Rose missed the first.

Missed the second, too.

And missed a potentially game-tying jumper with 3.7 seconds left to boot, as somehow the Heat held on for a wild 97-93 win on Sunday. LeBron James — the player who Rose supplanted as the league MVP — scored 35 points for Miami, which never trailed yet never could relax until Chris Bosh sealed it by making two free throws with 0.1 seconds left.

"This is so surreal right now knowing that I had a chance to win the game," said Rose, emotional at his locker afterward. "And this time it didn't work out."

Bosh scored 24 points and added 12 rebounds for the Heat (15-5), who got 15 points from Dwyane Wade and pulled within one game of the Bulls (17-5) in the East.

"Like the playoffs in January," Wade said.

Richard Hamilton and Joakim Noah each scored 11 for Chicago, which got 10 apiece from Ronnie Brewer and Carlos Boozer.

"A highly contested basketball game," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

Oh, that doesn't even begin to tell the story of this one.

"I let my team down," Rose said.

It had a little of everything. James leaped over — yes, over — Chicago's 180-cm John Lucas for an alley-oop dunk from Wade in the opening minutes, saying afterward he never saw the Bulls' guard in his path. Wade missed nine of his first 10 shots, airballing the last of those. James missed a pair of free throws 5.1 seconds after Rose misfired on his tries in the final moments. There were skirmishes, hard fouls, pushing and screaming and shoving. Even an inadvertent whistle in the final moments that ultimately didn't hurt Miami, although the Heat strongly believed the whistle took away their advantage.

As for that notion that this was "just another game" . . . nope. Not even close.

"The way I see it, every time we play the Bulls it's going to be like that," Bosh said. "It's always going to be an atmosphere where nobody wants to lose and that's how the playoffs are."

Mavericks 101, Spurs 100 (OT)

In Dallas, Jason Terry scored a season-high 34 points, including four in the last 42 seconds of overtime, and the Mavericks rebounded after blowing an 18-point lead against San Antonio.

Terry put the Mavericks back in the lead to stay when he took a pass from Dirk Nowitzki for a baseline jumper with 42 seconds left. After Shawn Marion stole the ball from Gary Neal, Terry hit two free throws with 17 seconds left to make it 101-98.

Cavaliers 88, Celtics 87

In Boston, Kyrie Irving scored 23 points, sinking a layup with 2.6 seconds left as Cleveland scored the last 12 points of the game to beat the Celtics.

Anderson Varejao had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers, who had lost five of six.

Clippers 109, Nuggets 105

In Denver, Chauncey Billups' homecoming couldn't have gone better. He scored a season-high 32 points and drew a crucial foul in the waning seconds to help seal a Los Angeles victory that snapped the Nuggets's six-game winning streak.

It was Billups' first game at the Pepsi Center since Denver included him in the blockbuster Carmelo Anthony trade nearly a year ago.

Pacers 106, Magic 85

In Orlando, Danny Granger scored 24 points, and David West and George Hill each had 16 as Indiana ran past the Magic.

The Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak to Orlando and avoided losing consecutive games for the first time this season.

Lakers 106, Timberwolves 101

In Minneapolis, Kobe Bryant had 35 points and 14 rebounds and Pau Gasol scored 28 to give Los Angeles a much-needed road victory over the Timberwolves.

Andrew Bynum added 21 points for the Lakers, who won for the second time in nine road games this season. They led by 18 in the third quarter, then withstood a furious Timberwolves charge to hang on for their second victory in six games.

Hawks 94, Hornets 72

In New Orleans, Jeff Teague tied a career high with 24 points despite playing on a sore left ankle.

Raptors 94, Nets 73

In Newark, New Jersey, DeMar DeRozan scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half.

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