NBA

Heat host Nets, Rockets visit Lakers on TSN2

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The Sports Network
4/8/2014 10:45:20 AM
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With the playoffs around the corner, catch a doubleheader of action from the hardcourt tonight on TSN2.

First, the Miami Heat will continue their march toward the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference when they welcome the Brooklyn Nets to AmericanAirlines Arena.

Then with a playoff spot already locked up, the Houston Rockets can focus on postseason positioning when they open a three-game road trip against the Los Angeles Lakers.

All the action gets underway on TSN2 at 8pm et/5pm pt.

The Heat have won five of their last six and are one game clear of the Indiana Pacers for Eastern Conference supremacy. The two-time defending NBA champs have clinched a fourth straight Southeast Division title.

After a heartbreaking one-point home loss in double-overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, the Heat dispatched the New York Knicks on Sunday afternoon.

Miami prevailed, 102-91, and overcame an NBA record 10 made 3-pointers by New York's J.R. Smith.

"You do your job and you live with the results," Miami forward LeBron James said. "We lived with the result of J.R. making some of those bombs."

James led Miami with 38 points and six assists. Mario Chalmers and Chris Bosh added 15 and 14 points, respectively for the Heat, while Ray Allen went 4- for-9 from long range for 12 points.

Miami was without the services of Dwyane Wade (hamstring), Greg Oden (back) and Chris Andersen (back/knee).

The Heat shot 55.7 percent from the floor and 44 percent from long range. They held the Knicks under 38 percent and will play three of their remaining five after Tuesday on the road.

The Nets are also headed to the playoffs, but their seeding is still up in the air. They trail the Toronto Raptors by 2 1/2 games not only for the Atlantic Division lead, but also for the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The Chicago Bulls are tied with the Raps for the No. 3 spot.

Brooklyn has won two straight and five of its last six. The Nets started this three-game road trip with a four-point win in Philadelphia on Saturday night and will close out the sojourn in Orlando on Wednesday.

The Nets snapped a three-game road losing streak with a 105-101 victory over the 76ers on Saturday.

The Nets led by as many as 21 points in the second half but stumbled down the stretch, allowing Philly to pull within a point in the final minutes. Head coach Jason Kidd ran his bench players out late and that was the unit that nearly coughed up the huge lead.

Mirza Teletovic, moments after air-balling a similar shot, drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing for a 99-95 margin with 48.9 seconds to play, and Brooklyn hit 6-of-6 from the foul line in the final 30 seconds to hang on for the win.

"I felt it gave us the opportunity to execute on some late-game stuff," said Kidd. "Guys made free throws and we got stops when we had to."

Deron Williams posted 19 points and nine assists to lead the Nets. Mason Plumlee scored 16 points off the bench for Brooklyn, winners in five of six. Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce deposited 12 and 11 points, respectively.

The Nets have taken all three meetings with the Heat this season and those wins halted a 13-game series losing streak. They could sweep the season series against the Heat for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

The Nets are the only team the Heat haven't beaten yet in the 2013-14 campaign.

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers (TSN2, 10:30pm et/7:30pm pt)

With a playoff spot already locked up, the Houston Rockets can focus on postseason positioning when they open a three-game road trip Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Rockets will makes stops in Denver and Minnesota on this trip and have a 20-17 record on the road. They are currently fourth in the Western Conference, sitting two games ahead of Portland and three behind the L.A. Clippers.

Houston posted its seventh win in 10 tries with Sunday's 130-125 overtime triumph against the Nuggets. James Harden scored 15 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, while Chandler Parsons scored eight points in the extra session and finished with 15 for the Rockets, who clinched a playoff berth in Friday's win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden scored 10 points in the final 3:55 of the fourth as part of a 16-3 quarter-closing run to help force overtime. Harden tied the game with 7.1 seconds left in regulation for Houston, which scored 13 of the 21 in OT.

"Well we battled," said Rockets coach Kevin McHale. "We were not ready starting that game off. Our guys kept battling and James (Harden) made the huge 3 to get it to overtime, but other than that we were shaky."

Harden is averaging 31.1 points in his last eight games.

Dwight Howard (ankle) missed another game and is questionable Tuesday. Omer Asik has been filling in nicely for Howard and is posting an average of 12.0 points and 16.8 rebounds in his last five games -- all starts. He has three double-doubles in that stretch.

A disappointing season for the Lakers couldn't end any sooner, but they still have five games left.

Los Angeles is 25-52 on the season and has lost four in a row and 13 of the last 17 games. In Sunday's 120-97 blowout loss to the rival Clippers, Jordan Hill had 22 points and nine rebounds to lead the way. Nick Young scored 17 of his 18 points in the first half and was bothered by a balky knee.

"We battled," said Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni. "We didn't have enough to win today. They focused more. They upped the ante and got us."

Jodie Meeks had 17 points in defeat. L.A. was outrebounded by a 52-38 margin and committed 15 turnovers, leading to 24 Clippers points.

Hill, meanwhile, is averaging 16.9 points and 9.8 rebounds in his last eight games -- all starts.

The Lakers are opening a three-game homestand Tuesday versus Houston, Golden State and Memphis, and are 14-24 as the host.

Lakers guard Kent Bazemore (foot) is done for the year and center Pau Gasol is expected to miss another game with vertigo. Gasol hasn't played since April 1 and has missed several games over the past few weeks. Guard Steve Nash (back) is probable versus the Rockets.

Nash needs five assists to pass Mark Jackson for third on the NBA's all-time list. Only John Stockton (15,806), Jason Kidd (12,091) and Jackson (10,334) have dished out more assists than Nash (10,330).

Houston is 2-1 against the Lakers this season, but has lost six of the previous eight as the guest in this series.

LeBron James (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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