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James leads Miami to win No. 60

Heat forward LeBron James, back after missing three games, drives past the 76ers’ Damien Wilkins in the first half.

Associated Press

Heat forward LeBron James, back after missing three games, drives past the 76ers’ Damien Wilkins in the first half.

MIAMI — LeBron James had 27 points in his return from a strained right hamstring, five other teammates reached double figures and the Heat moved closer to securing homecourt advantage for the entire playoffs by topping the 76ers 106-87 Saturday night.

Rashard Lewis scored 14 and Norris Cole 13 for the Heat, which moved its magic number to two for clinching the league's best regular-season record.

Miami moved to 60-16, a win shy of matching the franchise record. The Heat got there after outscoring Philadelphia 29-11 in the fourth quarter.

Jrue Holiday scored 18 for Philadelphia, which got 14 points from Evan Turner and an 11-point, 11-rebound night from Spencer Hawes.

James had missed Miami's previous three games, was cleared to return after some pregame testing Saturday and was 12-of-17 from the field. The Heat was without guard Dwyane Wade (sore ankle and knee) and center Chris Bosh (sore right knee).

A steal and dunk from James with 2:41 left just about sealed the outcome, giving the Heat — which led by just one entering the final quarter — what was then its biggest lead, a 16-point margin at 101-85.

Miami has beaten Philadelphia in 19 of the teams' previous 20 meetings, including the playoffs. In the regular season only, it's 15 straight wins for the Heat.

And while Miami will go into the Eastern Conference playoffs as the No. 1 seed, a disappointing season for the 76ers is winding down without a single appearance from free agent center Andrew Bynum.

"We swung for the fences," Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. "And I give our organization a lot of credit. We went for a home run and unfortunately it didn't work for us this year. But I will tell you, the guys in the locker room, I'm incredibly proud at how hard they've played every single night. We've competed and we've had some really tough losses, but we can only grow from that."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game that he would carefully manage James' minutes, and he wasn't kidding.

James checked out for the first time after playing 7:45 of the first quarter, his shortest stint to open a regular-season game since October 2010 — his first week with the Heat.

Then again, it didn't seem like the Heat would exactly need much from James at that point.

Miami made its first four 3-pointers, shot 64 percent in the opening quarter compared with 29 by Philadelphia, and led 33-18 — outscoring the 76ers 20-5 over the final 6:44.

Things flipped in the second quarter. Philadelphia shot 55 percent and got within 50-46.

Game highlights: On a night when the Wizards celebrated the 35th anniversary of the franchise's only championship, John Wall played like someone who might someday carry on that legacy, scoring 37 in a display of speed and flair to lead host Washington to a 104-85 victory over Indiana. Wall made 16 of 25 shots, throwing his palms up after making an improbable 14-foot sideways runner and flexing his muscles to the fans on the first row after banking in a fastbreak layup. He even blocked a layup by Roy Hibbert, the 6-foot-4 point guard rising to swat the ball from the 7-2 Pacers center. … Deron Williams had 32 points and six assists, and the host Nets strengthened their hold on fourth place in the East, beating the Bobcats 105-96. Brook Lopez added 19 points and backup Andray Blatche had 16 as the Nets completed a four-game sweep of the league-worst Bobcats.

Late Friday: Kobe Bryant had 24 points and nine assists and Pau Gasol added 19 points as the host Lakers stayed in the final playoff position in the Western Conference by beating the Grizzlies 86-84. Los Angeles stayed half a game ahead of Utah for the No. 8 seed with six games left (Utah has five).

Heat 106, 76ers 87

PHILADELPHIA (87): Turner 6-10 2-4 14, T.Young 4-11 1-2 9, Hawes 4-9 1-2 11, Jr.Holiday 7-17 1-1 18, Wilkins 3-10 1-1 7, Wright 3-11 3-4 10, Ju.Holiday 0-1 0-0 0, L.Allen 2-6 2-2 6, Moultrie 1-1 0-0 2, N.Young 3-6 4-4 10. Totals 33-82 15-20 87.

MIAMI (106): James 12-17 2-2 27, Haslem 4-9 2-2 10, Anthony 1-3 0-0 2, Chalmers 4-10 0-0 11, Miller 1-3 0-0 3, Battier 2-4 2-2 8, Lewis 6-10 0-0 14, R.Allen 3-8 2-2 11, Cole 5-12 1-2 13, Andersen 2-7 3-4 7. Totals 40-83 12-14 106.

Philadelphia 18 28 30 11— 87

Miami 33 17 27 29— 106

3-Point GoalsPhiladelphia 6-20 (Jr.Holiday 3-4, Hawes 2-3, Wright 1-7, Wilkins 0-1, Turner 0-2, N.Young 0-3), Miami 14-25 (R.Allen 3-3, Chalmers 3-8, Battier 2-2, Cole 2-4, Lewis 2-4, James 1-2, Miller 1-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsPhiladelphia 48 (Hawes 11), Miami 51 (Andersen 15). AssistsPhiladelphia 12 (Jr.Holiday 6), Miami 25 (Battier, James 5). Total FoulsPhiladelphia 14, Miami 16. A20,168 (19,600).

Wizards 104, Pacers 85

INDIANA (85): George 0-8 2-2 2, West 6-14 0-0 12, Hibbert 11-17 3-4 25, Hill 4-12 3-4 11, Stephenson 0-1 2-2 2, T.Hansbrough 1-4 2-2 4, Augustin 2-6 0-1 5, Johnson 1-6 0-0 3, Mahinmi 0-2 0-0 0, Green 6-12 0-0 13, Pendergraph 1-1 0-0 2, Young 1-1 0-0 2, Plumlee 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 35-86 12-15 85.

WASHINGTON (104): Webster 3-7 6-7 13, Nene 2-3 3-4 7, Okafor 3-13 2-2 8, Wall 16-25 5-10 37, Temple 3-4 0-0 8, Ariza 2-9 0-0 5, Seraphin 7-10 1-2 15, Price 2-5 0-0 4, Booker 0-1 5-6 5, Collins 0-1 0-0 0, Vesely 0-0 0-0 0, Singleton 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 39-79 22-31 104.

Indiana 26 22 18 19— 85

Washington 31 20 26 27— 104

3-Point GoalsIndiana 3-20 (Augustin 1-4, Johnson 1-4, Green 1-5, Hill 0-3, George 0-4), Washington 4-12 (Temple 2-3, Webster 1-2, Ariza 1-6, Price 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsIndiana 56 (Hibbert, West 10), Washington 47 (Okafor 9). AssistsIndiana 17 (George, Hill 3), Washington 19 (Wall 5). Total FoulsIndiana 21, Washington 22. TechnicalsIndiana Coach Vogel, Washington defensive three second. Flagrant Fouls—Booker. A19,360 (20,308).

Nets 105, Bobcats 96

CHARLOTTE (96): Kidd-Gilchrist 2-5 2-2 6, McRoberts 3-11 0-0 6, Biyombo 4-8 2-2 10, Walker 3-9 1-2 7, Henderson 8-12 6-8 22, Adrien 2-3 0-0 4, Mullens 0-1 0-2 0, R.Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Gordon 8-16 5-6 27, Pargo 5-13 1-1 12, Thomas 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 36-80 17-23 96.

BROOKLYN (105): Wallace 0-0 1-2 1, Evans 5-7 4-7 14, Lopez 7-14 5-7 19, D.Williams 11-18 8-8 32, Johnson 5-16 2-2 15, Brooks 2-5 0-0 4, Bogans 0-2 0-0 0, Blatche 7-13 2-4 16, Teletovic 0-1 0-0 0, Watson 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 39-80 22-30 105.

Charlotte 23 31 21 21— 96

Brooklyn 29 24 30 22— 105

3-Point GoalsCharlotte 7-21 (Gordon 6-11, Pargo 1-4, McRoberts 0-1, Walker 0-1, R.Williams 0-1, Henderson 0-3), Brooklyn 5-21 (Johnson 3-10, D.Williams 2-7, Teletovic 0-1, Brooks 0-1, Bogans 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsCharlotte 50 (Biyombo 10), Brooklyn 49 (Evans 20). AssistsCharlotte 18 (Henderson 5), Brooklyn 17 (D.Williams 6). Total FoulsCharlotte 24, Brooklyn 17. A17,444 (17,732).

James leads Miami to win No. 60 04/06/13 [Last modified: Saturday, April 6, 2013 11:55pm]

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