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James drops in season-high 41, Wade-less Heat beats Sixers
By Paul Levine Apr 4, 2012, 7:17 GMT
Los Angeles - The Miami Heat didn't have Dwyane Wade, but they had plenty of LeBron James, especially down the stretch.
James poured a season-high 41 points, including 14 in a row late in the game, and the Heat clinched a playoff berth with a 99-93 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
With Wade sitting out Tuesday's contest because of a bruised left knee, James was called on to shoulder the load. And he delivered in a big way, carrying the Heat to their 16th consecutive home-court victory and a league-best 22-2 record.
'Knowing that one of our top scorers is not in uniform, I knew I had to pick it up offensively and take control of the game,' said James, who tallied 15 of the Heat's final 17 points.
'There's no question about it, with Dwyane being out he'd have to shoulder it a little bit more offensively,' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of his star player. 'The ball was going through him a little bit more tonight.'
Mario Chalmers scored 19 points and Chris Bosh added 17 for the Heat, who completed a 4-0 season series sweep over the Sixers.
'We wanted to come out and be aggressive,' Chalmers said, 'especially with D-Wade being out tonight.'
The Heat outscored the Sixers 25-16 in the third quarter that turned a three-point halftime deficit into a 76-70 advantage heading into the final frame.
The gap grew to 10 following James' three-point play midway through the period. The Sixers refused to go away, however.
They went on an 8-1 run to pull within 86-83 on a jumper by Lou Williams with just under three minutes left.
But James took charge, running off Miami's next 10 points, hitting a pair of jumpers, and an alley-oop dunk off a lob pass from Chalmers that made it 92-85 with one minute 27 seconds left.
King James then added four straight free throws for a 96-87 advantage with 44.1 seconds left, and the Heat had its 11th consecutive regular-season victory over the Sixers.
Evan Turner scored 26 points while William had 18 for the Sixers, who lost All-Star Andre Iguodala in the third quarter with a left eye contusion, and dropped one and half games behind idle first-place Boston in the Atlantic Division.
'Turnovers were the killer,' Sixers coach Doug Collins said. 'We had 17 against a team like that and you can't give them more possessions.'
LA Lakers 91, New Jersey Nets 87: Kobe Bryant rattled in the game-sealing triple with 6.8 seconds left to cap a 24-point effort, and Lakers held off the visiting Nets after blowing a 17-point cushion.
Spaniard Pau Gasol had 22 points with 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who won their third in a row despite playing without centre Andrew Bynum because of a left ankle sprain.
Deron Williams scored 20 points while Kris Humphries added 18 with 15 rebounds for the Nets, who had their season-high three-game winning streak snapped.
Indiana Pacers 112, New York Knicks 104: Danny Granger erupted for 14 of his 27 points in the pivotal 40-17 final quarter, and the Pacers rallied from 17 down in the second half to stun the visiting Knicks.
Carmelo Anthony had a season-high 39 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who lead idle Milwaukee by one and half games for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Memphis Grizzlies 98, Golden State Warriors 94: O.J. Mayo scored 19 points, Mike Conley added 18, and the Grizzlies rallied from 12 down in the final quarter to beat the visiting Warriors for their fifth win in six games.
David Lee netted 22 points to pace Golden State, which lost its sixth straight after being outscored, 28-15 in the final period.
Detroit Pistons 102, Orlando Magic 95: Greg Monroe had 22 points with 11 rebounds, and the Pistons dealt the injury-depleted Magic its fourth straight loss.
Glen Davis scored a career-high 31 for Orlando, which was without starters Dwight Howard (back spasms), Jameer Nelson (calf strain) and Ryan Anderson (ankle sprain).
San Antonio Spurs 125, Cleveland Cavaliers 90: Patty Mills scored 20 points off the bench, Danny Green and Frenchman Tony Parker added 19 apiece, leading the visiting Spurs to their eighth straight win while handing the Cavs their eighth consecutive loss.
Phoenix Suns 109, Sacramento Kings 100: Polish-native Marcin Gortat had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Steve Nash added 18 points and 12 assists, and the visiting Suns withstood a career-high 41-point, 12-rebound performance by DeMarcus Cousins to drop the Kings.
Toronto Raptors 92, Charlotte Bobcats 87: Italian-native Andrea Bargnani scored 30 points, DeMar DeRozan had 20, and the Raptors handed the league-worst Bobcats (7-44) their eighth straight loss despite 20 points and 14 rebounds by Byron Mullens.
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