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Heat getting healthy, extends Celtics losing streak to 16 By Paul Levine
dpa German Press Agency
Published: Thursday February 8, 2007

By Paul Levine, Los Angeles- The Miami Heat is starting to warm up and the Boston Celtics remain in deep freeze. Dwyane Wade had 30 points and nine assists to lead the Heat to their fifth consecutive victory, by extending the Celtics' franchise-record losing streak to 16, with a 91-79 road victory on Wednesday night.

"All season we all talked about getting everyone healthy," Wade said. "That's the main thing. We are a confident team when we have everyone on the floor."

Jason Kapono scored 19 points and Shaquille O'Neal, rounding into shape following knee surgery, finished with nine points as the defending champions Heat (24-25) moved within a game of .500.

"I don't feel sorry for them. I don't feel sorry for nobody," said O'Neal of the Celtics. "That's how this league is. Nobody felt sorry for my team."

Ryan Gomes led Boston with 15 points and Wally Szczerbiak had 14 before leaving with a sprained left ankle late in the third quarter. Al Jefferson finished with 13 points and 17 rebounds for the Celtics (12-36), who shot an icy 32 per cent from the field.

The Celtics have not won since beating Memphis on Jan. 5.

"I've never gone through anything like this in my basketball career," Gomes said. "This franchise, where it has been (16 NBA Championships) and where it is now, it's tough."

Miami led 44-40 at halftime before a 13-4 run extended the lead to 57-44 with just over eight minutes left in the third period. Szczerbiak's 3-pointer pulled the Celtics to within five with 5:20 left. But Wade ended the quarter with two free throws, giving the Heat a 70-58 lead.

The Heat opened the final frame on a 14-3 burst and cruised the rest of the way.

Elsewhere: Dallas Mavericks 113, Memphis Grizzlies 97 German juggernaut Dirk Nowitzki exploded for 18 of his 38 points in the decisive opening quarter, sparking the Mavericks to their franchise-tying 16th straight home victory.

Josh Howard had 23 points for league-best Dallas (40-9), which has won five straight and hasn't lost at home since December 7.

Spain's Pau Gasol had 29 points, nine rebounds and nine turnovers, while Mike Miller added 21 for the league-worst Grizzlies (12-38).

New Jersey Nets 87, Atlanta Hawks 85 Vince Carter scored 22 points, including the go-ahead layup with 7.6 seconds remaining, helping the visiting Nets snap a four-game slump.

Josh Smith led Atlanta with 20 points before fouling midway through the final period.

Toronto Raptors 113, Orlando Magic 103 Chris Bosh poured in a career-high 41 points, carrying the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors to their season-high fourth straight win.

Dwight Howard had 32 points on 13-for-14 shooting for the visiting Magic (25-25), which has lost 11 of 14.

Seattle SuperSonics 103, Indiana Pacers 102 Ray Allen scored 33 points and rookie Andre Brown hit the go-ahead basket with 23 seconds remaining, helping the SuperSonics snap a franchise-record 15-game road losing streak.

The Pacers had shots to claim victory, but Jamaal Tinsley missed a drive before Danny Granger, and Tinsley failed as time ran out.

Tinsley had 25 points and Troy Murphy added 22 for the Pacers, who played without their best player, Jermaine O'Neal (bruised knee).

San Antonio Spurs 110, Washington Wizards 83 Frenchman Tony Parker and Tim Duncan scored 20 points apiece, while Argentine Manu Ginobili added 18 to help the Spurs level their eight-game rodeo road trip at 2-2.

Gilbert Arenas scored 29 points for the Wizards, who dropped to 19-6 at home

Philadelphia 76ers 92, Bobcats 83 Andre Iguodala scored 27 points and the 76ers jumped past the woeful Celtics and out of last place in the Atlantic Division.

Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor led the Bobcats (18-31) with 16 points apiece.

Cleveland Cavaliers 94, LA Clippers 77 Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 16 points and a season-high 16 rebounds as the Cavaliers overcame a mediocre night by LeBron James.

James scored 11 points - 15 below his season average - in the Cavs' fifth straight home victory.

Elton Brand scored 21 points for the Clippers, who dropped to 1-3 on their seven-game road trip.

Timberwolves 121, Warriors 93 Kevin Garnett collected 17 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists for his 17th career triple double as the T-Wolves snapped a four-game losing streak with their most lopsided victory this season.

Ricky Davis led the T-Wolves with 26 points and Mark Blount added 22. Sarunas Jasikevicius scored 20 points for the Warriors, who shot just 37 per cent from the field.

New Orleans Hornets 114, Denver Nuggets 112 (OT) Desmond Mason scored 23 points, including a put-back to beat the overtime buzzer, lifting the visiting Hornets over the struggling Nuggets.

Carmelo Anthony tallied 27 points and Allen Iverson had 22 and nine assists after sitting out the last four games with a right ankle sprain in Denver's (23-24) seventh loss in the last eight games.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency