HOUSTON (AP) — LeBron James put on a second-half show and helped the Miami Heat finally put away Houston.
James scored 32 of his season-high 38 points after halftime, Chris Bosh had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Miami rallied to beat the Rockets 113-110 on Monday night.
Dwyane Wade added 19 points for the Heat, who shot 47.6 percent from 3-point range (10 of 21) and 51 percent from the field overall.
James went 12 for 20 from the field and 5 for 7 from 3-point range in the second half. He gave the Heat the lead for good with a driving layup with 19 seconds left.
"It's the zone you hear about," James said. "Certain players talk about getting into the zone. I wish I could get into it more. But when you're in it, you know how it feels, you know everything you put up and how you're going is pretty good."
Chandler Parsons scored a career-high 25 points and Omer Asik had a career-best 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets, who led 110-106 with 90 seconds left.
James was the difference, though, and Miami beat Houston for the sixth straight time.
"I expected him to make every single shot he threw up," Bosh said. "I guess, after 30 points, you think everything is going in."
Jeremy Lin shot an airball from 3-point range with 10 seconds left, Wade caught it and the Heat bounced back from a 104-86 loss to Memphis on Sunday.
"We've been in this position before," James said. "Nothing we haven't seen before, just trying to get stops."
Lin, meanwhile, endured another humbling moment against the Heat. Last year, his amazing run with the New York Knicks hit a detour in Miami, where he went 1 for 11 from the field and coughed up eight turnovers.
"Obviously, it's my responsibility to hit that shot," Lin said. "It was a good shot for me, a quality shot and it didn't go in for me, unfortunately, in a crucial play of the game."
Rockets interim coach Kelvin Sampson likened the back-and-forth game to a fistfight, with the more experienced Heat delivering the final blow. Head coach Kevin McHale is on indefinite leave because of a family matter.
"They got the last punch in and I'm disappointed that we lost," Sampson said.
The Heat looked as though they might blow out Houston early when they opened the game with a 20-5 spurt. Miami started 8 for 12 from the field, while the Rockets missed nine of their first 11 shots.
Miami's shooting eventually cooled off and Houston started finding scoring opportunities inside. James had just six points on 2-for-6 shooting and missed his only 3-point attempt in the first half and the Heat led only 56-52 at the break.
James sank two 3s early in the third quarter to get himself going. But Lin hit a 3-pointer and then threaded a nifty bounce pass to Parsons for a fast-break layup as the Rockets rallied again. Carlos Delfino's 3-pointer from the wing with 5:03 left in the third quarter gave Houston its first lead at 70-69.
The Rockets continued to find holes in the middle of the Heat's defense to keep Miami at bay. James scored 16 points in the third quarter, but rimmed out a 3-pointer just before the buzzer and Houston led 85-82.
Marcus Morris sank two unlikely 3-pointers from the corner over James, and Houston seemed to be on its way to a big early-season win. But the Rockets' shooting touch left them just when they needed it most. Houston made a season-high 12 3-pointers, but missed its final three attempts from long range.
"We made some good plays toward the end of the game," James Harden said, "but some of the shots didn't fall."
Harden shook off a slow start to score 22 points. Lin had only nine points and six assists.
Notes: James scored in double figures for the 149th consecutive game for Miami, breaking a tie with Wade for the longest streak in franchise history. ... The Rockets were still uncertain when McHale would rejoin the team. "It's a tough time for his family," Sampson said. "Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with him." ... Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith and star receiver Andre Johnson, a Miami native, had a courtside seats next to prominent defense attorney Rusty Hardin, a regular at Rockets games. Houston running back Arian Foster sat behind them, and James ran over and greeted both players just before the tipoff. ...Shane Battier, who played for the Rockets from 2006-11, got a loud ovation when he was introduced in Miami's starting lineup. The Rockets played a tribute video after the first quarter and Battier acknowledged more applause with a wave.
Short-handed Timberwolves beat Mavericks
DALLAS (AP) — With a growing injury list and a patchwork lineup, the Minnesota Timberwolves relied on rugged defense to extend their early-season success.
Nikola Pekovic scored 20 points before leaving with an injury and the short-handed Timberwolves beat the Dallas Mavericks 90-82 on Monday night.
The Timberwolves dressed only 10 players. The 6-foot-11 Pekovic, the team's leading scorer, became the latest Minnesota player to get hurt when he exited late in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle and didn't return.
Even with the rash of injuries and the lineup in a state of flux, the one constant all season has been Minnesota's defense — which entered fifth in the NBA in points allowed.
The Mavericks shot a season-low 36.3 percent and never led after the opening 3 minutes.
"I credit our character," Minnesota forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "Nobody really looks down and nobody feels sorry. Everybody just keeps coming out and trying to give their best. I think as a team, we played good team defense."
Minnesota stars Kevin Love (broken right hand) and Ricky Rubio (torn left ACL) have yet to play this season.
On Sunday, the Timberwolves announced Chase Budinger will have surgery for a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, an injury he sustained while filling in for Brandon Roy on Saturday night. Roy missed his second game Monday with a sore right knee.
Former Mavericks guard J.J. Barea (left foot sprain) did not travel with Minnesota and missed his third straight game.
Pekovic then turned his ankle when he stepped on the foot of Dallas guard Vince Carter running down the court with 2:46 left in the third.
Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said he didn't think Pekovic's injury was serious.
"I don't know when it's going to stop," Adelman said. "Hopefully we can get some guys back and maintain the same energy level we've had."
Minnesota's energy was evident from the start as it held Dallas to 17 points in the first quarter. The Mavericks missed 13 of their final 15 shots in the first quarter and then misfired on their first four attempts in the second.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was ejected after arguing a foul call with 5 minutes left. Assistant coach Jim O'Brien coached the team the rest of the way.
After a 4-1 start, the Mavericks have lost three in a row.
"We got carved up in the second half," Carlisle said. "Our effort wasn't where it needed to be. I thought we tried hard in the second half and the results were still not good."
Darren Collison had 21 points and O.J. Mayo added 18 for the Mavericks, who lost at home for the first time in four games.
Pekovic went 8 of 13 from the floor. Kirilenko and Alexey Shved each had 16 points for Minnesota.
Even with all the injuries, the Timberwolves (5-2) are off to their best start since 2001-02.
"Pretty gutsy performance by us," Minnesota guard Luke Ridnour said. "Everyone that came on the court for us just contributed."
Minnesota led by six at halftime and pushed its advantage to 64-51 on Kirilenko's dunk with 3:52 left in the third. Pekovic went down to the floor just more than a minute later and was helped off the court by a trainer.
Dallas was within 76-68 in the fourth when Carlisle was ejected. The coach stormed toward halfcourt after a shooting foul was called on Mayo, and official Jason Phillips quickly gave Carlisle consecutive technicals.
The Timberwolves went on a 9-4 run over the next 1:37, capped by Shved's 3-pointers that gave Minnesota an 85-72 lead.
Dallas cut its deficit to 85-78, but Minnesota went 5 of 6 on free throws in the final minute to put the game away.
"It's not the end of the world," Mayo said. "But at the same time, we have to get back to getting better."
Ridnour had 15 points and eight assists, and reserve Dante Cunningham chipped in 14 points for the Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves capitalized on Dallas' offensive struggles as Cunningham broke free for an easy dunk, putting Minnesota up 29-17 early in the second.
The Mavericks cut into Minnesota's lead late in the first half. They hit their final three shots to get within 45-39 at halftime.
NOTES: Dallas All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki said during an in-game television interview that his rehab from right knee surgery is going slower than he expected. He offered no timeframe for his return. Nowitzki is about halfway through the expected six-week recovery process. ... Minnesota won for only the fourth time in its last 23 games against the Mavericks.
Other NBA Capsules
Rondo, Celtics beat Bulls
CHICAGO (AP) — Rajon Rondo had 20 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Boston Celtics to a 101-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.
Rondo took advantage of Bulls point guard Nate Robinson for three quarters, helping the Celtics build a 12-point lead on 56 percent shooting. He extended his streak of consecutive games with 10 or more assists to 31, the longest in the NBA since John Stockton had 37 straight from Feb. 27 to Nov. 29, 1989.
Brandon Bass led four other Celtics in double figures with 16 points as Boston held off a furious late Chicago rally to snap a five-game losing streak at the United Center. Kevin Garnett had 15 points.
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
The Celtics became the first team to score 100 points against the Bulls since April 8 last season, ending a streak that had reached 15 straight games.
HAWKS 95, TRAIL BLAZERS 87
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Josh Smith had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Kyle Korver added 16 points and Atlanta snapped a two-game skid with a win over Portland.
Al Horford added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which was playing the second game of a four-game West Coast swing after losing 89-76 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 18 rebounds, and Nicolas Batum scored 19 points to lead Portland, which dropped its fourth straight. Wesley Matthews had 17 points and made all 10 of his free throws.
Trail Blazers All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting. He added eight assists, but had just seven points in the first three quarters.
JAZZ 140, RAPTORS 133, 3OT
TORONTO (AP) — Paul Millsap scored seven of his 34 points in the third overtime, Al Jefferson had 24 points and 17 rebounds, and Utah beat Toronto for its first road win of the season.
The Jazz rallied after trailing by 11 in the fourth quarter, and no basket was bigger than Jefferson's 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in regulation, a shot that bounced around the rim before falling through. It was just the second 3-pointer of Jefferson's nine-year career. He came in 1 for 25 from 3-point range.
Mo Williams had 17 points and 14 assists, Randy Foye scored 20 points and Marvin Williams had 17 as the Jazz opened a four-game trip by avoiding their first 0-5 start away from home since 1987.
DeMar DeRozan matched his career high with 37 points, Jose Calderon had 20 points and 17 assists, and Amir Johnson fouled out with 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Raptors, who lost their fourth straight.
Toronto has dropped eight consecutive home games against Utah.
THUNDER 92, PISTONS 90
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 33 points and keyed a fourth-quarter comeback as Oklahoma City rallied to beat winless Detroit.
The loss left the Pistons with an 0-8 record, the worst start in franchise history. It was the fourth game in five nights for the Thunder, who improved to 6-2.
Westbrook, who also had 10 rebounds and four assists, contributed six points — all on free throws — to a 13-0 Thunder run to open the fourth quarter that turned a 73-62 deficit into a 75-73 lead with 8:11 left.
Kevin Durant, who hit a tough runner with 47.8 seconds remaining that gave Oklahoma City an 88-85 advantage, added 26 points and nine rebounds.
Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 19 points and Greg Monroe had 17.
BUCKS 105, 76ERS 96
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Brandon Jennings scored 33 points and Monta Ellis had 18 to lead Milwaukee past Philadelphia.
The Bucks improved to 3-0 on the road for the first time since they won their first four in 2001-02. Mike Dunleavy added 13 points and Milwaukee shot around 60 percent most of the game.
Jennings hit four 3-pointers, had four steals and was 5 of 5 from the free throw line.
Jrue Holiday had 25 points and a whopping eight turnovers for the 76ers, who were coming off their first 3-0 road trip since 2003. Jason Richardson scored 20 and the Sixers made 10 of 24 3-pointers.
Before the game, Philadelphia learned center Andrew Bynum will miss at least five more weeks because of a bone bruise in his right knee and might not play until early January.
SUNS 110, NUGGETS 100
PHOENIX (AP) — Goran Dragic scored 21 points, including 4-of-5 shooting on 3-pointers, to lead seven Phoenix players in double figures as the Suns snapped Denver's four-game winning streak.
Shannon Brown added 19 points, Michael Beasley 16 and Jared Dudley 15 for Phoenix. Markieff Morris scored 13 points and had a crucial steal down the stretch. Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola added 12 points apiece for the Suns, who finished the game with a 13-4 run.
Andre Iguodala scored 17 for Denver. JaVale McGee added 16, pretty much all of them on thundering dunks, and Danilo Gallinari scored 15 for the Nuggets. Kenneth Faried scored 14 on 6-of-7 shooting but didn't take a shot in the second half.
Dragic's 3-pointer from the top of the key put Phoenix ahead 100-96 with 3:14 to play.
|All Times EST|
Brooklyn 82, Orlando 74
L.A. Clippers 89, Atlanta 76
Memphis 104, Miami 86
Oklahoma City 106, Cleveland 91
L.A. Lakers 103, Sacramento 90
Milwaukee 105, Philadelphia 96
Utah 140, Toronto 133,3OT
Oklahoma City 92, Detroit 90
Boston 101, Chicago 95
Miami 113, Houston 110
Minnesota 90, Dallas 82
Phoenix 110, Denver 100
Atlanta 95, Portland 87
Washington at Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Toronto at Indiana, 7 p.m.
New York at Orlando, 7 p.m.
Cleveland at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.
Portland at Sacramento, 10 p.m.
San Antonio at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m.
Detroit at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Utah at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
New Orleans at Houston, 8 p.m.
Charlotte at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Memphis at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.
Indiana at Milwaukee, 8 p.m.
Washington at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Chicago at Phoenix, 9 p.m.
Atlanta at Golden State, 10:30 p.m.
Miami at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m.
Other NBA News
Lakers intrigued by chance to play for D'Antoni
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Pau Gasol got home from the game and read about it on Twitter, while Dwight Howard got a midnight message on his BlackBerry. They shared most Los Angeles Lakers fans' mix of surprise, trepidation and anticipation.
Just when everybody thought the Lakers were getting back together with Phil Jackson, they switched course in the middle of the night and went with Mike D'Antoni.
What a weekend in Hollywood — and the real drama isn't over yet.
The Lakers reacted with ample excitement and a little bewilderment Monday to their front office's surprising decision to hire D'Antoni as coach Mike Brown's replacement over Jackson, the 11-time champion who discussed the job at his home Saturday and apparently wanted to return. D'Antoni didn't even interview for the job in person, speaking to the Lakers over the phone.
"It has been crazy, but all this stuff will just make this team stronger," said Howard, who has been in a Lakers uniform for about six weeks. "Everything that we've been through so far, it's going to make us stronger, and we have to look at this as a positive situation."
The Lakers' third coach in four days won't take over the team until later in the week. D'Antoni still hadn't been cleared to travel Monday after undergoing knee replacement surgery earlier in the month, although the Lakers are optimistic the former Knicks and Suns coach will arrive in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
So interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff was still in charge Monday when the Lakers gathered for an informal workout ahead of Tuesday's game against San Antonio. Just two weeks into the regular season, the Lakers (3-4) are about to start over with a new offense and another coaching staff — and a renewed certainty they're expected to compete for a title this season.
"It's been a zoo," said forward Antawn Jamison, a 15-year NBA veteran who played for D'Antoni on a U.S. national team. "But as I was telling somebody, it's just a typical day here in L.A. It's interesting. ... It should be a lot easier to adjust to than the system we were trying to get adjusted to early on in the season. We've got Steve (Nash) that can help us out."
Two Lakers who supported both Brown and his two potential replacements weren't available in El Segundo to weigh in on the hire. Nash missed the workout while getting treatment on his injured leg, while Kobe Bryant left before it ended to share a helicopter ride back home to Orange County with point guard Steve Blake, who needed an exam on his abdominal injury.
And the tall, professorial coach with all the rings wasn't at the Lakers' training complex at all.
Just 24 hours after Jackson seemed headed back to his oversized chair on the Staples Center bench, D'Antoni had the job.
It's too soon to tell how the Buss family's latest counterintuitive move will sit with Lakers fans, who chanted "We want Phil!" during the club's weekend games, both victories after a 1-4 start.
"I think everybody had expectations about it, and they were all pretty high," Gasol said of Jackson's potential return. "We all understood what Phil brings to the table ... and what he means to the city and the franchise. It just couldn't work out for whatever reason."
Jackson issued a statement to a handful of media outlets Monday, implying he was essentially offered the job after meeting with Lakers owner Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak. Jackson thought he would be able to come back to the Lakers on Monday with his decision, but instead was awakened by a midnight phone call from Kupchak.
"The decision is of course theirs to make," Jackson said in his statement. "I am gratified by the groundswell of support from the Laker fans who endorsed my return, and it is the principal reason why I considered the possibility."
The Lakers largely echoed the thoughts of Howard, who was looking forward to playing for Jackson: "Management had to do what they felt is best for the team, and we as players have got to find a way to win."
The Lakers publicly offered no reason for passing over the coach with the most championships in NBA history. Although nobody could claim the Buss family is afraid of spending money, Brown is still owed well over $10 million for the remaining three seasons on his four-year, $18 million contract, while D'Antoni will make $4 million a season for the next three years — and their salaries together might be less than what Jackson would command.
The Lakers largely know what they would get with Jackson, but D'Antoni intrigues this older, top-heavy team with an urgency to contend for a title before Howard's free agency next summer and Bryant's possible retirement in a few years.
Howard and Gasol both believe D'Antoni's up-tempo style can work well for the Lakers. Howard would seem to be a natural to partner with Nash in the pick-and-roll attacks loved by D'Antoni and Nash, although Gasol doesn't immediately fit into the definition of a big man who can play on the perimeter and shoot 3-pointers.
"It's a great system, (but) I don't think he ever had a defender such as myself or a defender such as Dwight Howard on those teams," Metta World Peace said. "I don't think he ever coached those type of players, so his defense should be self-explanatory, and his offense is amazing, so it should be fun for Laker fans."
The rest of the NBA sat back and watched the Lakers' drama with amusement over the past two days, with Dallas owner Mark Cuban weighing in gleefully on the mess: "I hope they have to do it again and again and again."
Jackson's flirtation with the job is the strongest indication yet that he's interested in coaching again, which makes him a prime candidate for another franchise. Yet D'Antoni also received praise around the league — even from New York, where he resigned last March after failing to win a playoff game in four years with the Knicks.
"Despite all the hoopla ... that was going on about me and Mike, we actually have a pretty good relationship, especially behind closed doors," Carmelo Anthony said. "We actually talked a lot, talked basketball. Hopefully he brings some positive energy over there. Anytime guys are losing like that, there's always negativity, a lot of negative energy. So sometimes change is better."
Added Dwyane Wade, who has played for D'Antoni on the U.S. national team: "He has a tough job ahead of him, but I'm sure he's excited about the opportunity that he gets to be with America's team."
-- Greg Beacham
Bynum's return to practice pushed to December
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Andrew Bynum's debut with the Philadelphia 76ers may not come until 2013.
Bynum, Philadelphia's 7-foot center, will miss at least five more weeks because of a bone bruise in his right knee and could be held out until early January.
When Bynum was hurt in mid-September, the team initially hoped its newly-acquired star would be ready for the season opener Oct. 31. Late last month, though, the Sixers said he was out indefinitely.
Philadelphia said Monday that the new goal was for Bynum to resume "normal basketball activity" around Dec. 10. He would then need 1-4 weeks of conditioning and practice before he can play in his first game for the 76ers.
"It's better than when it started, it's just not quite there yet," he said. "It's not where I want it to be."
Bynum was allowed to start low-impact exercise after an MRI last week and he did everything from swimming to biking to stay in shape.
The Sixers acquired Bynum from the Lakers in a four-team deal that saw them ship Andre Iguodala to Denver, but he has yet to even practice with them this season.
"We know that Sixers fans are eager to see Andrew Bynum play and shine in a 76ers uniform," Sixers general manager Tony DiLeo said. "We also know that no one is more eager to see Andrew play for the Sixers than Andrew himself. He fully realizes the key contribution he can make to the team. Hopefully, that day is coming soon."
Bynum, 25, is in the final year of his contact and could sign a five-year deal worth more than $100 million in the offseason, if he's healthy.
Bynum said his uncertain contract status was not playing a role in the decision to rest until he's ready to go out and dominate. However, Bynum said he could play through the bone bruise had the Sixers been in a playoff series.
"As far as getting better, I think this is the way I need to handle it," he said. "It's tough. I want to get out there, I want to play. It's just a roller coaster. Obviously, missing games is not good. I want to be out there, I want to be there with my teammates."
Without Bynum, the Sixers took a three-game winning streak into Monday's game against Milwaukee.
Bynum has already had surgery on both knees. In September, he went to Germany for injections of plasma-rich platelets that supposedly stimulate healing in arthritis-affected areas in both of his knees.
Bynum won two NBA titles in seven seasons with the Lakers and called their coaching carousel "crazy." The Lakers fired Mike Brown five games into the season, flirted with Phil Jackson then hired former New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni late Sunday night.
"It's tough," Bynum said. "You've got that caliber team, it's a shame what happened. I think he'll be back around."
-- Dan Gelston
Lakers G Blake out Tuesday with abdominal strain
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Steve Blake will miss the Los Angeles Lakers' game against San Antonio on Tuesday with a minor abdominal strain, leaving the club without its top two point guards.
The Lakers announced the results of Blake's ultrasound exam on Monday. He left Los Angeles' 103-90 victory over Sacramento on Sunday night in the first half.
Blake is averaging 5.1 points, 3.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds in seven games this season, hitting just 35.3 percent of his shots.
He has started the Lakers' past five games in place of two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, who is sidelined at least until this weekend with a small fracture in his leg.
The Lakers' remaining point guards are Darius Morris and veteran Chris Duhon. Morris is averaging 6.6 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.