NBA: Heat slips past Lakers
MIAMI (AP) – Chris Bosh scored 24 points, Dwyane Wade added 20 and the Miami Heat snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers 94-88 on Thursday night, clinching a playoff spot.
LeBron James finished with 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for the Heat, who have never secured a postseason bid faster in their history. Mike Miller scored 12 for Miami.
Kobe Bryant scored 24 points for the Lakers, whose eight-game winning streak was snapped. Pau Gasol added 20 and Andrew Bynum finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles, which went 0-2 against Miami this season.
Mavericks 127, Knicks 109
DALLAS (AP) – Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points, Shawn Marion had 22 and Jason Terry 21 and Dallas beat New York.
Dallas had lost two of its past three games, with coach Rick Carlisle calling his Mavericks “soft” after they blew a seven-point lead in the final minute in New Orleans the night before. Players responded just like he hoped, scoring a season-best 72 points in the first half on their way to their highest total for a game all season.
Amare Stoudemire scored 36 points for the Knicks, who had won three straight. Stoudemire also picked up his 16th technical foul, which would trigger an automatic one-game suspension if it’s upheld. It was a marginal call and could be rescinded; he’s already had two wiped out this season. He also played through a bruised left shoulder sustained early in the game.
Nuggets 116, Suns 97
PHOENIX (AP) – Nene scored 22 points in 26 minutes and Denver won in Phoenix for the first time in 13 tries.
Coach George Karl ended an even longer drought in the desert. The Nuggets coach had not won in Phoenix since Dec. 28, 1997, when he was with the Seattle SuperSonics. Karl had not won in Phoenix as coach of Milwaukee or Denver until Thursday night.
The Nuggets, playing for the first time since losing to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Saturday, converted the Suns’ 20 turnovers into 32 points and shot 52 percent to Phoenix’s 41.
Ty Lawson added 20 points and 11 assists for the Nuggets, who led by 24 after three quarters.