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March 6 (The Sports Xchange) - Heat 97, Magic 96
LeBron James was the hero again, scoring a lefty layup with 3.2 seconds left to lead the Miami Heat to a franchise-record 16th consecutive win, beating the Orlando Magic 97-96 on Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat led by 20 points in the third quarter before the Magic rallied. Orlando led 96-93 with 1:16 left before Miami came back, as it has so many times this season.
James led the Heat with 26 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, and Dwyane Wade added 24.
The Heat (45-14) leads the rest of the Eastern Conference by a wide margin and also has the best home record in the NBA at 27-3.
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Lakers 108, Hornets 102
Kobe Bryant matched a season high with 42 points, including 18 in a furious 33-9 fourth-quarter comeback, to power the Los Angeles Lakers to a 108-102 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night at the New Orleans Arena.
The Lakers, who trailed by as many 25 points in the first half and were in a 93-72 hole late in the third quarter, never gave up.
The Hornets looked in the clear with an alley-oop dunk by Al-Farouq Aminu making it 100-83 with 5:40 left, but the Lakers refused to quit, going on a 14-2 run to close the deficit to 102-97 with 3:38 left.
Bryant tied the game 102-102 with a drive in the lane past Lopez and he put the Lakers ahead for good with a fall-away 15-foot jumper with 36.3 seconds left.
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Celtics 83, Pacers 81
Kevin Garnett found Jeff Green for a layup with 0.5 seconds left to lead the Celtics to an 83-81 victory over the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday.
George Hill tried to throw a lob to Paul George at the rim, but Paul Pierce blocked the pass. The Celtics closed the game on an 11-0 run over the final 4:36.
Garnett led the Celtics with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Center Roy Hibbert had 12 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks for the Pacers.
The Pacers and Celtics could face each other in the first round of the playoffs.
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Knicks 87, Pistons 77
Raymond Felton had 26 points as the New York Knicks overcame the absence of Carmelo Anthony and a season-high 21 turnovers for a 87-77 win over the Detroit Pistons at the Palace on Wednesday.
Anthony, the NBA's second-leading scorer, missed the game with stiffness and soreness in his right knee. Amar'e Stoudemire had 22 points and J.R. Smith supplied 20 for New York (37-21), which has won seven straight over Detroit, its longest streak against any team.
The Knicks have won five of their last six overall while the Pistons (23-40), who were led by Brandon Knight's 17 points, fell for the sixth time in seven games.
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Spurs 101, Bulls 83
Manu Ginobili had 18 points and nine assists to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 101-83 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night at the AT&T Center.
Ginobili, facilitating the point guard position with Tony Parker out at least a month with an injured ankle, was 7 of 14 from the field, including 3 of 5 from the 3-point line.
He led a fourth-quarter spurt that had the Spurs up double digits the whole period. By the time Nando de Colo hit the last bucket, a 17-footer, it gave the Spurs their largest lead at 18 points.
Chicago had the game tied at 68 with a minute and a half left in the third quarter, but went five minutes before scoring its next bucket. The Bulls were 6 of 20 in the fourth quarter and turned the ball over three times.
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Mavericks 112, Rockets 108
The Dallas Mavericks got a measure of retribution on Wednesday night with a down-to-the-wire, 112-108 victory against the Houston Rockets, the team that thumped them by 36 points just three nights earlier.
Mavs guard O.J. Mayo scored seven consecutive points during a critical stretch of the fourth quarter and Darren Collison, after nearly turning the ball over at midcourt with six seconds to play, made two free throws to seal the victory.
The loss is costly for the Rockets (33-29), who are working to solidify their playoff credentials. Houston is in seventh place in the Western Conference, but just a half-game ahead of the Utah Jazz.
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Clippers 117, Bucks 101
Blake Griffin wowed with a triple-double for the Clippers, who beat the Milwaukee Bucks 117-101 on Wednesday at Staples Center.
Griffin had 23 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds to post his first triple-double since his rookie season in 2010-11, when he had triple-doubles against Memphis and Washington.
Jamal Crawford led the Clippers (44-19) with 25 points. Matt Barnes added 20, and Chris Paul had 14 points and nine assists.
For Milwaukee (30-29), guard Monta Ellis had a team-high 22 points and forward Ersan Ilyasova added 20 points.
----------------- (Editing by Patrick Johnston)