Heat tie mark with No. 61


By TIM REYNOLDS

AP Basketball Writer

MIAMI — Dwyane Wade was hurt, Chris Bosh was sick, the Miami Heat missed 15 consecutive 3-point attempts and allowed the Milwaukee Bucks to score 22 points off turnovers.

And the Heat won handily anyway.

So if this was a potential first-round Eastern Conference playoff preview, the Bucks probably didn’t enjoy much of what they saw on Tuesday night. LeBron James scored 28 points in 30 minutes, Udonis Haslem had his first double-double of the season and the Heat moved a step closer to wrapping up home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs by topping the Bucks 94-83.

The Heat tied a franchise single-season record by winning for the 61st time, getting there with five games remaining. Miami needs only one more win or one San Antonio loss to clinch the top overall seed for the entirety of the playoffs. The defending champions (61-16) clinched the top seed in the East long ago, and will more than likely see the Bucks (37-40) when the postseason starts in about a week and a half.

Norris Cole and Ray Allen each scored 11 for the Heat, and Haslem finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds. Wade missed his fifth straight game and seventh in the past nine while dealing with ankle and knee issues, and Bosh sat out his second straight contest, though this time it was flu-like symptoms that left him sidelined, not the sore knee that kept him from participating in Saturday’s game against Philadelphia.

Bosh is not expected to accompany Miami for its trip to play in Washington on Wednesday. Wade is traveling with the club, and will be evaluated on Wednesday before the Heat make any determinations on the rotation for the matchup against the Wizards.

James’ highlight of the night came early. Off a turnover, he took a pass from Mario Chalmers, thought about getting the ball to Mike Miller but wound up throwing a pass off the backboard to himself — finishing the play with a dunk that had a half-dozen Heat players leap off the bench in unison and crane their necks toward the scoreboard to see the replay.

James finished 11 for 16 from the floor, with seven rebounds and seven assists.

Miami outrebounded Milwaukee 49-37, and held the Bucks to 37 points after halftime. The Heat lead was only 47-46 at the break, and Jennings opened the second half with a basket to give Milwaukee a one-point lead.

KNICKS 120

WIZARDS 99

NEW YORK — The New York Knicks romped to their first Atlantic Division title since 1994, getting 36 points from Carmelo Anthony and beating the Washington Wizards 120-99 for their 13th straight victory.

Anthony put this one away with 21 points during the Knicks’ 37-point third quarter that gave them a 95-71 lead. The NBA’s scoring leader added eight rebounds and six assists while becoming the first Knick since newly elected Hall of Famer Bernard King with five straight 35-point games.

Iman Shumpert added 18 points for the Knicks, who negated a height disadvantage by tying a franchise record with 20 3-pointers. J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland each added 17 points.

On their longest winning streak since winning 15 in a row from March 1 to April 2, 1994, the Knicks can tie the franchise record of 18 in a row, set early in their first NBA championship season of 1969-70, by winning their final five games.

John Wall scored 33 points for the Wizards.

PACERS 99, CAVALIERS 94

INDIANAPOLIS — George Hill scored 27 points and David West added 15 to help Indiana rally from a 20-point deficit for a win over Cleveland.

Paul George chipped in with 14 points, Lance Stephenson had 13 and Tyler Hansbrough 12 for the Pacers, who can clinch the No. 3 seed in the East with a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

Kyrie Irving scored 29 points and Indiana native Tyler Zeller had 18 before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter for Cleveland, which allowed the Pacers to break off a 25-4 run in the fourth for a 93-92 lead.

GRIZZLIES 94, BOBCATS 75

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mike Conley scored 20 points, Zach Randolph had 11 points and 13 rebounds, and Memphis beat Charlotte.

Memphis won its 13th straight at home, tying a franchise record with its 31st home win.

Kemba Walker scored 19 points to lead the Bobcats, and Gerald Henderson had 13.

NETS 104, 76ERS 83

NEW YORK — Brook Lopez scored 29 points, and Reggie Evans added 17 points and 24 rebounds as Brooklyn firmly held its ground in the East with a victory over Philadelphia.

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson had 11 points apiece for the Nets, who began the day with a two-game lead over Chicago for the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the first round.

Reserve guard MarShon Brooks had 11 points and seven assists for the Nets, winners of two straight overall and three of four in the season series against the 76ers. The Nets play at Boston tonight and have four games remaining.

RAPTORS 101, BULLS 98

CHICAGO — DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points and Rudy Gay added 19 as Toronto beat Chicago.

Toronto allowed a 15-point lead to dwindle to four at halftime but regrouped in the third quarter, getting it up to 16. The Raptors then hung on after the lead got down to two near the end.

Nate Robinson nailed a 3-pointer with just under a minute left and Carlos Boozer hit two foul shots with 16.8 seconds remaining to pull Chicago within 99-97.

Jimmy Butler led Chicago with a career-high 28 points and Robinson scored 22.

ROCKETS 101, SUNS 98

HOUSTON — Jermaine O’Neal was called for goaltending on James Harden’s last-second 3-point attempt and Houston beat Phoenix.

Harden scored 33 points and Omer Asik tied his career high with 22 rebounds for the Rockets, who needed a win and a Utah loss to Oklahoma City to clinch a playoff berth.

Luis Scola scored 28 points for the Suns, who have lost 10 in a row.

 

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