SAN ANTONIO — Often the forgotten member of Miami’s “Big Three,” Chris Bosh stepped up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sitting out to get the Heat a big win and move closer to securing home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs.
Bosh scored 23 points, including the winning 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining, and the Heat beat San Antonio 88-86 on Sunday night with James, Wade and Mario Chalmers watching from the locker room as they sat out with injuries.
“We are the defending champs no matter who we put out there,” Bosh said. “We are still the Miami Heat. We believe in ourselves. Each one of these guys is a professional. We played bigger roles in other cities but we came together and accepted lesser roles to win a championship here. We can still tap into that.”
Ray Allen added 14 points, Norris Cole had 13 and Mike Miller 12 for Miami (58-15), which swept the season series with San Antonio (55-18). By earning the head-to-head tiebreaker with San Antonio, the Heat have a four-game cushion with nine remaining for the league’s best record.
Miami beat San Antonio 105-100 on Nov. 29 when the Spurs opted to rest Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green.
All but Ginobili (strained right hamstring) played Sunday.
Duncan had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who had a seven-game home winning streak snapped. Green and Parker added 12 points apiece and Stephen Jackson had 11.
Bosh finished 3 for 5 on 3s, including the final shot from straightaway in the closing seconds. He let out a loud yell after making the shot and celebrated with teammates when Parker’s jumper bounced off the backboard as the buzzer sounded.
“He’s a heck of a player, No. 1, but he’s also a hell of a shooter,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He knocked down a big shot. Timmy contested it and he hit a big shot to win the game. Give him credit.”
The game was similar to their first meeting this season, when the Spurs’ reserves nearly toppled the Heat. This time the reserves prevailed, however.
“There’s no question, it’s a gratifying win,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “To come in and play against a great team, an elite team. We talked about coming in with Miami Heat pride. It doesn’t matter who’s in uniform or not, all of our guys have proven that it’s the pride of the name on the jersey, on the front of the jersey.”
James and Wade were surprise late scratches while Chalmers did not play Friday in New Orleans and was listed as day-to-day with a sprained right ankle.
James strained his right hamstring in the first half of the 108-89 victory against the Hornets, according to the Heat. He continued to play despite the injury, however, scoring 36 points in 32 minutes prior to sitting out late in the blowout victory.
Wade injured his right ankle in Miami’s 101-97 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, which snapped the Heat’s 27-game winning streak. Wade had 17 points and nine assists in 33 minutes Friday against New Orleans.
NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the Knicks extended their winning streak to eight games and moved closer to ending Boston’s hold on the Atlantic Division title.
The Knicks beat the Celtics for the second time this week and won the season series for the first time since 2003-04, when they also went 3-1 against Boston. New York climbed back into a tie with Indiana in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, which would currently mean a playoff meeting with the Celtics.
Jeff Green scored 27 points, and Paul Pierce had 24 points and 15 rebounds as the Celtics had a two-game winning streak snapped. Boston has won the last five division titles since acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the summer of 2007.
The Knicks haven’t won the division since the 1993-94 season.
CHICAGO — Luol Deng scored 28 points, Jimmy Butler and Nate Robinson each added 16, and Chicago beat Detroit for the 18th straight time.
Rodney Stuckey scored 25 points and Greg Monroe added 18 points for the Pistons, who have not beaten the Bulls since Dec. 23, 2008.
NEW ORLEANS — Greivis Vasquez scored 25 points and Ryan Anderson added 23 to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 112-92 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.
Anthony Davis had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Brian Roberts scored 15 and Eric Gordon 14 for the Hornets, who snapped a two-game losing streak, including a blowout loss to Miami on Friday. Davis’ double-double was his 17th, tops among NBA rookies.
Kryie Irving returned from a shoulder injury and led the Cavaliers with 31 points and six assists. WIZARDS 109
WASHINGTON — Bradley Beal scored 24 points in his return to the lineup, leading Washington past Toronto.
Emeka Okafor had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and John Wall added 18 points and 10 assists for Washington. The Wizards, who came in having lost two in a row on the road, won their seventh straight at home and moved into a tie with Toronto for 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Raptors.
Toronto leading scorer Rudy Gay scored 11 points — about seven below his average — while being limited to 26 minutes due to foul trouble.
Toronto, which has lost six of seven, cut a 20-point third-quarter deficit to six twice in the fourth quarter before Washington pulled away.