LeBron James scored 35 points, while reigning MVP Derrick Rose wasted two chances in the final 23 seconds and the Miami Heat escaped with a 97-93 win over the Bulls in Chicago yesterday.
Chris Bosh scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Dwyane Wade added 15 points for the Heat, who never trailed - but this win in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals was not easy.
Rose scored 34 points, but missed a pair of foul shots that would have given Chicago the lead with 22.7 seconds left. He had made all 28 of his free throws in the fourth quarter this season.
Rose had a shot to tie in the final seconds, but his short jumper bounced off the rim.
“This is so surreal right now knowing that I had a chance to win the game,’’ said Rose, emotional at his locker afterward. “And this time it didn’t work out.’’
Bosh sealed it with two free throws with 0.1 seconds left for Miami, which has won five straight over the Bulls - counting the last four games of last season’s East title series.
The Bulls erased what was a 12-point deficit and tied the game at 84 on a brilliant layup by Rose with 6:55 left.
The Heat answered with a 10-2 run, before Rose’s 3-point play with 49.1 seconds left cut the lead to 94-93.
Rose then lost the ball on a drive, but drew contact from Miami’s Udonis Haslem and went to the line with Chicago down 1 with 22.7 seconds left. Rose’s first hit the front of the rim and bounced away, and his second rimmed out. James grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Joakim Noah - only to miss both free throws himself.
After the second miss, Bosh appeared to emerge with the rebound, but an inadvertent whistle led to a jump ball. James outleaped Taj Gibson, getting the ball to Mario Chalmers, who made one free throw for a 2-point lead.
Chicago wound up getting one last chance with 9.9 seconds left, calling a timeout. Naturally, it went to Rose, who weaved his way into the lane - but came up short. Bosh got the rebound, and Miami began celebrating.
Clippers 109, Nuggets 105 - Chauncey Billups’s homecoming couldn’t have gone better. He scored a season-high 32 points and drew a crucial foul in the waning seconds to help Los Angeles snap Denver’s six-game winning streak.
It was Billups’s first game at the Pepsi Center in Denver since the Nuggets included him in the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster trade nearly a year ago.
Billups received a rousing ovation during introductions, and some highlights of his days with the Nuggets were shown on the overhead scoreboards. The Denver native was enthusiastically introduced as “still the King of Park Hill.’’
Pacers 106, Magic 85 - Danny Granger scored 24 points, and David West and George Hill each had 16 as visiting Indiana sent Orlando to its third straight loss.
The Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak to the Magic.
The Pacers erased a 3-point Magic halftime lead and built as much as a 23-point advantage in the fourth quarter.
Mavericks 101, Spurs 100 - Jason Terry scored a season-high 34 points, including 4 in the last 42 seconds of overtime, and host Dallas rebounded after blowing an 18-point lead against San Antonio.
Lakers 106, Timberwolves 101 - Kobe Bryant had 35 points and 14 rebounds and Pau Gasol scored 28 points to give Los Angeles just its second victory in nine road games.
Hawks 94, Hornets 72 - Jeff Teague tied a career high with 24 points despite playing on a sore left ankle and visiting Atlanta handed New Orleans its most lopsided loss of the season.
Raptors 94, Nets 73 - DeMar DeRozan scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half to lead visiting Toronto over New Jersey.