James, Heat escape with win
MIAMI — LeBron James scored 35 points, while reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose wasted two chances in the final 23 seconds and the Miami Heat escaped with a 97-93 win Sunday over the Chicago Bulls.
Chris Bosh scored 24 points and added 12 rebounds for the Heat, who never trailed — but this win in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals was not easy. Dwyane Wade added 15 points for Miami.
Rose scored 34 points for Chicago, but missed a pair of foul shots that would have given Chicago the lead with 22.7 seconds left. He had made all 29 of his free throws in the fourth quarter this season.
And Rose had a shot to tie in the final seconds, but his short jumper bounced off the rim.
Bosh sealed it with two free throws with 0.1 seconds left for Miami, which has now won five straight over the Bulls — counting the last four games of last season's East title series.
Both sides said this game was supposed to be just another regular-season matchup, one without extra meaning.
So not true.
The Bulls erased what was a 12-point deficit and tied the game at 84 on a brilliant layup by Rose with 6:55 left. The Heat answered with a 10-2 run, before Rose's three-point play with 49.1 seconds left cut the lead to 94-93.
Rose then lost the ball on a drive, but drew contact from Miami's Udonis Haslem and went to the line with Chicago down one with 22.7 seconds left. Rose's first hit the front of the rim and bounced away, and his second rimmed out. James grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Joakim Noah — only to miss both free throws himself.
After the second miss, Bosh appeared to emerge with the rebound, but an inadvertent whistle led to a jump ball. James outleaped Taj Gibson, getting the ball to Mario Chalmers, who made one free throw for a two-point lead.
Chicago wound up getting one last chance with 9.9 seconds left, calling time-out. Naturally, it went to Rose, who weaved his way into the lane — but came up short. Bosh got the rebound, and Miami began celebrating.
Rip Hamilton and Noah each scored 11 for Chicago, which got 10 apiece from Ronnie Brewer and Carlos Boozer.
The Bulls played without forward Luol Deng and guard C.J. Watson, both sidelined with wrist injuries. Watson may be back in Chicago's lineup as early as Monday, and Deng — who has a torn ligament in his left, non-shooting, wrist — is "very close" to a return, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Miami took an 11-point lead early in the fourth on back-to-back 3-pointers from Shane Battier and James. The Bulls roared back, as they did for most of the day whenever the Heat seemed on the cusp of taking control.
They just never got the lead, despite Rose's best efforts.
"Two sick moves by D-Rose," Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant tweeted as he watched the game, marveling at two layups by Rose that knotted the game at 84.
Mavericks 101, Spurs 100, OT
At Dallas, Jason Terry scored a season-high 34 points, including four in the last 42 seconds of overtime, and Dallas rebounded after blowing an 18-point lead against San Antonio.
Terry put the Mavericks back in the lead to stay when he took a pass from Dirk Nowitzki for a 12-foot baseline jumper with 42 seconds left. After Shawn Marion stole the ball from Gary Neal, Terry hit two free throws with 17 seconds left to make it 101-98.
Neal, who finished with 19 points, then drove for a layup and was fouled by Marion. But Neal missed a potential tying free throw that was rebounded by Ian Mahinmi, who missed two free throws.
After Neal got the rebound and the Spurs called timeout, Vince Carter knocked the ball loose. Danny Green grabbed it and threw up a shot that ricocheted off the front of the rim as the game ended.
Green and the Spurs thought he had a game-winner at the end of regulation, but his 14-footer was disallowed when replay clearly showed that shot didn't get out of his hands before the buzzer sounded.
Carter had 21 points, his most with the Mavericks. Nowitzki, playing for the first time after a four-game hiatus to strengthen his sore right knee and do conditioning work, had 10 points on 5-of-14 shooting with 13 rebounds.
Cavaliers 88, Celtics 87
At Boston, Kyrie Irving scored 23 points, sinking a layup with 2.6 seconds left as Cleveland scored the last 12 points of the game to beat Boston.
Anderson Varejao had 18 points and nine rebounds for Cleveland, which had lost five of six.
Ray Allen returned from an ankle injury and scored 22 points, making 4 of 6 from 3-point range. But he missed a jumper from the left corner when Boston still held a one-point lead on its second-to-last possession.
Paul Pierce scored 18 points with six rebounds and five assists for the Celtics, who had won four in a row.
Clippers 109, Nuggets 105
At Denver, Chauncey Billups' homecoming couldn't have gone better. He scored a season-high 32 points and drew a crucial foul in the waning seconds to help seal Los Angeles' victory that snapped Denver's six-game winning streak.
It was Billups' first game at the Pepsi Center since the Nuggets included him in the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster trade nearly a year ago.
Billups received a rousing ovation during introductions, and some highlights of his days with the Nuggets were shown on the overhead scoreboards.
Those cheers turned to groans when Billups scored a dozen points in the first quarter and swished a trio of 3-pointers in the third. But he saved his best play for the fourth quarter.
His sixth 3-pointer tied it at 99, and his three-point play finished off an 8-0 spurt that gave the Clippers a 102-99 lead with 2:37 left.
Pacers 106, Magic 85
At Orlando, Fla., Danny Granger scored 24 points, and David West and George Hill each had 16 as Indiana ran past Orlando.
The Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak to the Magic and avoided losing consecutive games for the first time this season.
Indiana had a 16-2 edge in second-chance points and got 42 points from its bench. The Pacers also went 8 for 17 from 3-point range.
Dwight Howard led the Magic with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Lakers 106, Timberwolves 101
At Minneapolis, Kobe Bryant had 35 points and 14 rebounds and Pau Gasol scored 28 to give Los Angeles a much-needed road victory over Minnesota.
Andrew Bynum added 21 points for the Lakers, who won for the second time in nine road games this season. They led by 18 in the third quarter, then withstood a furious Timberwolves charge to hang on for their second victory in six games.
Kevin Love had 33 points and 13 rebounds and Michael Beasley added 18 points and 12 boards for the Wolves.
Hawks 94, Hornets 72
At New Orleans, Jeff Teague tied a career high with 24 points despite playing on a sore left ankle and Atlanta beat New Orleans.
Willie Green added 16 points and Marvin Williams 14 for Atlanta, which won for the fourth time in five games and handed the struggling Hornets their most lopsided loss of the season.
Raptors 94, Nets 73
At Newark, N.J., DeMar DeRozan scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half, leading Toronto over New Jersey.
With injuries playing a role in their 7-14 start, the Raptors received a huge lift from DeRozan. He made eight of 12 shots from the field and 11 of 16 free throws.