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Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012
LeBron shuts door on Raptors in fourth quarter
MIAMI — LeBron James took a hard foul and clearly was not happy. So the next time he saw the ball, he made sure no Toronto player could reach him.
James' steal and dunk with just more than two minutes left gave Miami some breathing room, and the Heat held on to defeat the Raptors 95-89 on Sunday. James finished with 30 points and Dwyane Wade added 25 for the Heat (18-6), who won for the 10th time in their last 12 games and moved within one game of Chicago (20-6) for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
"We stuck with our principles," James said. "And that's to defend."
Chris Bosh scored 12 points against his former team, which saw a 15-point edge trimmed to three in the final minutes but never surrendered the lead. Mario Chalmers added 11 for Miami.
DeMar DeRozan scored 25 for the Raptors, who got 17 apiece from Jerryd Bayless and Linas Kleiza.
"I liked our disposition," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "I liked the way we approached it. I liked the way we competed."
Kleiza's 3-pointer with just under five minutes left got Toronto within eight, and another 3 from Bayless as the shot clock expired on the next Raptors' possession cut the Miami lead to 85-80 — the closest the game had been since early in the third quarter.
Bayless scored again to get the Raptors within three and cap a 12-0 Toronto run. And after Bosh missed a fadeaway from the right baseline, Bayless tried a 3-pointer to tie. It bounced off, and with the game in the balance, James went to work.
He was fouled by James Johnson and made two free throws with 2:20 left, not before letting anyone around him know he wasn't pleased with the physicality of the play. The next time James touched the ball, he didn't give the Raptors a chance to foul him — his steal and two-handed slam with 2:07 left gave Miami an 89-82 edge and all but ensured the win.
"Good back-to-back plays for our team and I was happy I was able to make them," James said.
Celtics 98, Grizzlies 80
In Boston, Celtics coach Doc Rivers could see that Kevin Garnett was looking and feeling spry.
Running the floor and looking strong on the glass, the 35-year-old Garnett matched his season-high with 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Celtics to their fourth straight win.
"He was feeling good. It's a still a kids' game. He was having fun," Rivers said of Garnett, a 14-time All-Star. "He was having a ball playing today and you don't want to tell him you have to come in because the lights are on, so we let him play in the dark a little bit."
Garnett was 9 of 12 from the field, including his third 3-pointer of the season on three tries. He hit one in Friday's win over New York.
"He's shooting it well," Rivers said, before joking about Garnett's recent 3-point success. "Gives us another option at the end of the game — don't tell him that."