Heat beat Raptors, take over top spot in East
Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) holds the ball as Toronto Raptors forward John Salmons (25) defends in the second half at American Airlines Arena. Photo by Robert Mayer, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
Heat 93, Raptors 83
LeBron James had 32 points, seven rebounds and eight assists as the Miami Heat earned an important win in the battle for the top record in the Eastern Conference, defeating the Toronto Raptors.
By virtue of the win and the Indiana Pacers' loss to the San Antonio Spurs earlier Monday, the Heat (51-22) lead in the loss column in the competition for the best record in the East.
The Pacers (52-23) are in second place by percentage points.
Toronto (42-32) was led by shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who had 16 points, but they had their three-game win streak snapped despite Miami playing without Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen and Greg Oden.
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Grizzlies 94, Nuggets 92
Zach Randolph scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and guard Mike Conley added 19 points, including a key 3-pointer in the final minute, as the Memphis Grizzlies held on to beat the Denver Nuggets.
After reaching the Western Conference Finals last year, the Grizzlies (44-30) are just trying to make the playoffs this year. They pulled even with the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns in a tie for seventh in the West with eight games remaining for each.
Denver (32-42) was trying to bounce back from a 31-point home loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.
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Bobcats 100, Wizards 94
Kemba Walker had 21 points and 10 assists, and center Al Jefferson had 19 points and 11 rebounds as the Charlotte Bobcats rallied to beat the Washington Wizards.
The Bobcats (36-38), sixth in the Eastern Conference, came back from a 60-44 halftime deficit and won by outscoring the seventh place Wizards (38-36) 19-4 over the last 6:43.