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Heat overcomes Hardaway's absence

Anthony Carter and Eddie House made up for the absence of Tim Hardaway, combining for 33 points as the Heat kept pace with their rivals in the Eastern Conference with a 95-81 win over Vancouver on Saturday night.

With Hardaway in Chicago, missing the game because of a death in his family, and the Heat already without shooting guard Eddie Jones, the burden fell on Miami's reserve guards.

Carter, starting for the third time this season, scored 17 and had seven assists. House, a seldom-used rookie, scored 16 off the bench and sparked a third-quarter surge that helped the Heat take command.

Anthony Mason led the Heat with 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Brian Grant added 12 points.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim led Vancouver with 20 points and eight rebounds, and Michael Dickerson added 16 points.

The Heat stayed within a half-game of the Knicks for third place in the Eastern Conference. Miami also stayed one game ahead of the fifth-place Hornets.

The Heat opened a 29-12 lead in the first quarter but the Grizzlies got within 47-44 at halftime. Vancouver outscored Miami 28-18 in the second quarter, with Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf sparking an 16-5 rally to open the quarter.

The Heat took command midway through the third quarter, outscoring the Grizzlies 14-5 in the final 5:22 to open a 75-62 lead after three. House scored 12 of Miami's 28 points in the quarter on 5-of-8 shooting.

MAVERICKS: China has agreed to allow Wang Zhizhi, a 7-foot-1 center was drafted in 1999, to leave the country and become the first Asian player in the NBA, state media reported.

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