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Heat halts Lakers, secures its berth

MIAMI — The first chore for the Heat is done: It is in the playoffs.

Dwyane Wade's steal set up LeBron James for the dunk that put Miami ahead to stay with 1:27 left, Chris Bosh scored 24 in his first outing after saying he wanted more shots, and the Heat beat the Lakers 94-88 Thursday to end a five-game skid and hand the defending NBA champions their first loss in nine games.

"We had everything riding on this game, really, to be honest with you," Bosh said.

Wade scored eight of his 20 in the fourth quarter, and James finished with 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for Miami, which secured a postseason bid with 17 games left, the earliest in franchise history.

"We want to get better," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who before the game received a vote of confidence from team president Pat Riley. "We want to make sure our game is right and ready when it really counts."

Riley told the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger, "We're going through some tough times and we will get through it."

Before the game, Lakers coach Phil Jackson prodded the Heat, saying: "I'm not a big fan of the style that Miami plays. I like to see everybody involved in the game."

Afterward, he said: "I'm sure we'll see them again sometime."

"You don't get too caught up in Phil's commentary," James said. "Phil's going to be Phil."

Stern words on Van Gundy: Commissioner David Stern says he doesn't plan to talk to Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy about critical remarks Van Gundy made about him, but he will speak to Magic executives.

In an ESPN Radio interview, Stern added: "I see somebody whose team isn't performing, whose star player was suspended, who seems to be fraying. … I would render a guess … that we won't be hearing from him for the rest of the season."

Stern hinted that Van Gundy would not be fined.

Late Wednesday, Jameer Nelson scored 26 as the Magic beat the host Kings 106-102. Howard returned from his one-game suspension because he reached 16 technical fouls to score 16 with 15 rebounds. He also fouled out.

Around the league: Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire picked up his 16th technical foul, which means an automatic one-game suspension if its upheld. … The league fined Hornets guard Marco Belinelli $10,000 for his flagrant foul on the Mavs' Shawn Marion.

Heat 94, Lakers 88

LAKERS (88): Artest 4-11 0-0 9, Gasol 8-16 4-5 20, Bynum 4-5 5-6 13, Fisher 2-5 1-2 6, Bryant 8-21 4-5 24, Odom 4-11 2-2 11, Blake 0-1 2-2 2, Brown 0-3 0-0 0, Barnes 0-2 3-4 3. Totals 30-75 21-26 88.

MIAMI (94): James 7-17 5-7 19, Bosh 10-17 4-6 24, Dampier 0-1 0-0 0, Chalmers 3-9 0-0 9, Wade 9-23 1-1 20, Howard 0-0 0-0 0, Ilgauskas 2-5 0-0 4, Bibby 2-3 0-0 6, Miller 4-6 2-4 12, Anthony 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-81 12-18 94.

L.A. Lakers 26 27 17 18— 88

Miami 29 26 13 26— 94

3-Point GoalsLakers 7-16 (Bryant 4-8, Fisher 1-1, Artest 1-1, Odom 1-2, Brown 0-1, Gasol 0-1, Blake 0-1, Barnes 0-1), Miami 8-19 (Chalmers 3-6, Bibby 2-3, Miller 2-3, Wade 1-4, James 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsLakers 46 (Bynum 12), Miami 54 (Bosh 9). AssistsLakers 18 (Artest 6), Miami 17 (James 9). Total FoulsLakers 19, Miami 19. TechnicalsLakers three second. A19,986.

Heat halts Lakers, secures its berth 03/10/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 11, 2011 12:17am]
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