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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Heat brush Magic aside


MIAMI — Chris Bosh got the Miami Heat started. Dwyane Wade provided the big finish.

News photo
You cannot be serious: Miami's LeBron James argues with a referee during the Heat's 91-81 win over the Magic on Sunday. AP

Wade scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, Bosh made his first six shots and finished with 23 and the Heat held off the Orlando Magic 91-81 on Sunday night for their 13th straight win at home.

LeBron James finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and five steals for the Heat. His pass with 3:46 left made it past two Magic defenders and set up Bosh for perhaps the clincher, a three-point play that stretched Miami's lead to 84-73.

"He's the biggest piece of our team," James said of Bosh. "And when he's going, we're very dangerous. . . . That's what it was all about tonight."

Well, that and defense. Orlando scored 12 points in a span of nearly 16 minutes in the second half, finishing with its lowest point total in 11 games.

"Our effort defensively early in the game was not there," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We did not come to play. That's inexcusable particularly playing on the road against a team this good and then the 20 turnovers."

Dwight Howard finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for Orlando. Quentin Richardson was 5 for 7 on 3-pointers for a 15-point night for the Magic, who split four games with Miami this season, both teams going 2-0 at home.

The win kept Miami (33-11) one game in the loss column behind Chicago (37-10) for the NBA's best record and top Eastern Conference seed.

It was a 69-68 game before Wade made back-to-back shots to give Miami some breathing room, and the Heat never gave up control again. Wade wound up scoring 12 straight Miami points, and his assist set up Shane Battier's 3-pointer that made it 87-75 with 2 minutes left.

"I don't think (Wade) ever had a bad game against us," Van Gundy said. "Every game he's played it's been a great game. We never do a decent job on him."

James reached double digits for his 400th straight regular-season game, a streak beginning Jan. 6, 2007. According to STATS LLC, he became the first player since January 2010 to have at least 14 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and five steals in a game.

"If I'm not getting going it scoring, it's time to focus on something else," James said. "I try to be a complete basketball player."

Jameer Nelson scored 13 points and Jason Richardson added 12 for the Magic. After a three-game road trip last week that started by getting outrebounded by 10 in Orlando — then by 16 in Chicago and 12 in Philadelphia — the Heat outrebounded Orlando 42-36.

And they kept Howard in some sort of check: In Orlando's two wins over Miami this season, Howard averaged 24.5 points and 24.5 rebounds. In the two Heat wins, Howard averaged "only" 15 points and 13 rebounds.

"It's the small things that matter in games like this," Howard said.

Jazz 103, Lakers 99

In Los Angeles, Paul Millsap scored 24 points, Enes Kanter added 17 points and eight rebounds, and Utah handed the Lakers just their second home loss since Christmas.

Clippers 87, Pistons 83 (OT)

In Los Angeles, Chris Paul scored nine of his 19 points in overtime and added a season-high 15 assists.

Thunder 111, Trail Blazers 95

In Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook scored 28 points, Kevin Durant had 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and the Thunder began work on restoring their home-court dominance.

Suns 99, Rockets 86

In Phoenix, Michael Redd scored a season-high 25 points off the bench and the Suns beat Houston for their fourth straight win.

Hawks 103, Cavaliers 87

In Cleveland, Joe Johnson scored 28 points and short-handed Atlanta beat the Cavaliers for the sixth straight time.

Kings 115, Timberwolves 99

In Sacramento, Marcus Thornton scored 24 points and the Kings used a strong second half to beat slumping Minnesota.

Grizzlies 97, Wizards 92

In Memphis, Rudy Gay scored 27 points, including five in the final 23.9 seconds, to lift the Grizzlies over Washington.

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