Heat top 76ers for 10th straight home win

Posted: Tuesday, March 08, 2005

MIAMI — Looking nothing like a team playing its fourth game in five nights, Miami got 32 points from Dwyane Wade and 25 more from Shaquille O'Neal to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 108-100 on Monday night.

The Heat shot 54.9 percent from the field, extended their winning streak to six games, won their 10th straight at home — and moved a step closer to clinching the Southeast Division title. Miami has an 11-game lead over Washington in the division race; the Heat have 20 games remaining.

Mavericks 113, Raptors 105

DALLAS — Marquis Daniels had a season-high 32 points and Jason Terry added 23 to help Dallas win without Dirk Nowitzki.

Nowitzki, averaging 26.9 points and 10.1 rebounds, missed his second straight game because of a bruised left knee. Dallas also played without the injured Michael Finley, Erick Dampier and Jerry Stackhouse.

Josh Howard added 22 points and eight rebounds, and Keith Van Horn, subbing for Nowitzki, had 19 points. Morris Peterson led Toronto with 23 points.

Bulls 90, Bucks 85

CHICAGO — Kirk Hinrich scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, and Chicago held off Milwaukee for its 30th victory, tying the Bulls' most in a season since they won their sixth championship in 1997-98.

Grizzlies 105, Clippers 102

LOS ANGELES — Lorenzen Wright scored 23 points, Brian Cardinal had 20 and Memphis nearly blew a 13-point lead in the final 2:17 before beating Los Angeles for its fourth straight victory.

Corey Maggette scored 37 points for the Clippers.

Nuggets 111, Trail Blazers 98

DENVER — Carmelo Anthony had 23 points before sitting out the fourth quarter and the Denver Nuggets won their seventh straight game, beating the Portland Trail Blazers for their longest winning streak in 16 years.

Denver got Kenyon Martin back after he missed two games with knee tendinitis, but lost center Marcus Camby to a strained hamstring.

and played without forward Nene (knee) for the ninth straight game.

Not that it mattered.

Short-handed or full strength, the Nuggets are on a roll and are charging toward the final playoff spot in the Western Conference — or higher.

Denver is 14-4 under coach George Karl, has won eight straight home games and has made up 6 1/2 games on the Los Angeles Lakers in a little over a month to tie for eighth in the West. Wesley Person scored 18 points in 22 minutes and Greg Buckner added 16 on just five shots for the Nuggets, on their longest winning streak since winning seven straight in 1989.

Anthony was 9-for-18 after managing seven points on 3-of-14 shooting his previous game against the Blazers on Feb. 2, then spent the fourth quarter cheering on Denver's backups

While the Nuggets have responded to a coaching change, firing Maurice Cheeks hasn't made a bit of difference for Portland. The Blazers have lost five straight and 10 of 12, the last three by an average of 11.6 points under interim coach Kevin Pritchard.

It didn't help that leading scorer Zach Randolph missed his third straight game with a sore right knee and Nick Van Exel didn't make the trip after complaining about the team's direction and saying he needed to rest his sore knee.

Damon Stoudamire led Portland with 24 points and Darius Miles added 16, but at times it seemed as if the inexperienced Blazers were intentionally throwing the ball away, flinging wild passes and sending lobs into crowds of two or three Nuggets. Portland had turnovers on three straight possessions twice in the first 15 minutes and had 26 overall — 16 on steals by the Nuggets.

What helped the Blazers in the first half is that when they did hold onto the ball, it usually went in the basket. Portland shot 11-of-19 in the first quarter and cooled only slightly in the second, shooting 48 percent to stay within six at 56-50 despite giving the ball away so many times.

It didn't last.

The Blazers continued to throw the ball away in the second half, didn't shoot quite as well and allowed the Nuggets to hit 14-of-22 shots to stretch the lead to as much as 19 in the third quarter.

Portland's problems got worse midway through the quarter, when starting center Joe Przybila was ejected after receiving his second technical foul for pushing Francisco Elson.

Notes: Carlee, the German shorthaired pointer who won last month's Westminster Kennel Club show, attended the game. Her owners, Richard and Linda Stark, live in nearby Castle Rock and are Nuggets' season-ticket holders. ... Denver is 12-0 when forcing at least 20 turnovers.

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