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Tuesday April 17, 2012

James and Wade combine to power Heat to victory over Knicks

LOS ANGELES: Spain’s Pau Gasol sank back-to-back three-pointers in overtime to spark the Los Angeles Lakers past the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks 112-108 on Sunday.

Andrew Bynum had 23 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Lakers while Ramon Sessions added 22 points, Gasol contributed 20 points and 10 rebounds and Metta World Peace added 18 points for the hosts.

The Lakers won their fourth game in a row and improved to 4-1 without star guard Kobe Bryant, the NBA scoring leader who missed his fifth game in a row because of a shin injury.

At 39-22, the Lakers moved 1½ games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers atop the Pacific division in the NBA’s tightest division race. The Lakers have the third-best record in the Western Conference.

After regulation time ended deadlocked at 98-98, the Lakers took charge early in overtime on Gasol’s back-to-back shots from beyond the arc.

“I’m glad I was able to hit those shots,” Gasol said. “I stuck with it and my team-mates found me. We worked hard until the last second of every possession. We were happy we were able to fight through everything.”

The Mavericks had a chance to level the game at 110-110 with five seconds remaining in overtime but Jason Terry missed a layup and the Lakers hit two free throws to seal the victory and finish a four-game season sweep of Dallas.

The Mavericks, who fell to 34-27 and stand sixth in the West, were led by Dirk Nowitzki’s 24 points and 14 rebounds, but the German star was only 9-of-28 in shooting from the field. Terry added 21 points and Delonte West had 20.

In Chicago, Derrick Rose scored 24 points, including a 3-pointer to force the game into overtime, and Joakim Noah added 20 points and 17 rebounds as the NBA-leading Chicago Bulls defeated Detroit 100-94.

Rodney Stuckey, who scored a game-high 32 points for Detroit, missed three free throws late in the fourth quarter to keep Chicago within reach and Rose hit a 3-pointer with six seconds left to send the game into an extra period.

Noah dominated in overtime with baskets and assists, and Chicago closed the game with a 12-5 run for the victory, improving their NBA-best record to 46-14 while the Pistons, eliminated from the playoffs, fell to 22-38.

In New York, LeBron James (pic) scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Dwyane Wade added 28 points to power the Miami Heat over the New York Knicks 93-85 in a possible first-round NBA playoff preview.

Chris Bosh added 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds while James and Wade each contributed six assists and Wade grabbed nine rebounds as Miami improved to 42-17, second-best in the Eastern Conference and fourth overall in the NBA.

“We don’t want to be playing our best right now. We want to continue to get better,” Wade said. “We took a big step toward doing that tonight.”

Carmelo Anthony scored 42 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Knicks, who saw their nine-game home win streak come to an end.

At 31-29, the Knicks are eighth in the East, a half-game behind Philadelphia and two games in front of Milwaukee for the final East playoff berth.

Iman Shumpert’s steal set up a Landry Fields layin that capped a 12-2 Knicks run and gave New York a 73-71 lead.

J.R. Smith slammed in a fast-break dunk to give the Knicks their largest lead at 79-75 only to have the Heat unleash an 18-3 run to seize an 93-82 lead. Wade scored 10 points for Miami in the decisive spurt. — Agencies


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