Heat, Cavs Win Without Their Superstars
Wednesday, March 14th 2007, 7:38 am
By: News On 6
Good thing Dwyane Wade and LeBron James got their big contract extensions last summer. Their teams might pay less now after proving they can win without their stars.
But there's no questioning Richard Jefferson's value to the New Jersey Nets.
Miami and Cleveland kept rolling Tuesday night, with the Heat winning again without Wade and the Cavaliers remaining undefeated this season when James doesn't play.
The Heat beat Utah 88-86 for their seventh straight victory and 13th in a row at home. That includes a 6-0 homestand, all without Wade, the reigning NBA finals MVP who is out with a dislocated left shoulder.
``With D-Wade out, everybody's been stepping up,'' forward Antoine Walker said. ``And every night, it's been someone different for us.''
Walker scored all of his 13 points in the final 11 minutes, helping the Heat erase a 17-point second-half deficit. Utah, which had its six-game winning streak snapped, was 14-0 in road games which it led entering the fourth period.
Back spasms forced James to take a night off, but the Cavs beat the Sacramento Kings 124-100. Cleveland is 3-0 this season without its superstar forward, and has scored a season-high 124 points in two of those wins.
``Go figure, because you lose a lot without a player like that,'' said Ira Newble, who started for James on Tuesday. ``Everybody has to pick up the slack.''
Sasha Pavlovic scored a career-high 25 points and Larry Hughes added 25 to lead Cleveland to a season-high sixth straight victory.
``We always get scared a little bit when he's out, so we try to step up and get a win,'' Pavlovic said.
In other games, it was Atlanta 104, Philadelphia 92; Minnesota 86, Indiana 81; New Jersey 112, New Orleans 108; San Antonio 93, the Los Angeles Clippers 84; Chicago 95, Boston 87; Denver 107, Portland 99; and Detroit 101, Seattle 97.
The Nets have won two straight, mostly because Jefferson seems back in form. After scoring 18 points Monday in a victory at Memphis that snapped New Jersey's five-game losing streak, Jefferson had 26 Tuesday in a win over the Hornets.
It was Jefferson's best total since Nov. 28. He sat out six weeks with an ankle injury, with the Nets going from Atlantic Division favorite to a team struggling just to make the playoffs during that span.
``I've felt the best the last few days that I have all year long, since probably last season,'' Jefferson said. ``I think you can see it in my spring in my legs and just my activity, my rebounding. In everything, you can see my activity is up. It feels good to be out there and playing on the level that you're accustomed to.''
Spurs 93, Clippers 84
At San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 25 points and the Spurs won their 13th straight, the longest current winning streak in the NBA.
Tim Duncan added 19 points, Manu Ginobili had 16 and Michael Finley contributed 13 as the Spurs completed a sweep of their four meetings with the Clippers this season.
Timberwolves 86, Pacers 81
At Minneapolis, Kevin Garnett had 30 points and nine rebounds, and Minnesota extended Indiana's losing streak to 10 games.
Indiana's Jamaal Tinsley had a career-high 37 points, six assists and six rebounds in his second game back from a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.
Nuggets 107, Trail Blazers 99
At Denver, Allen Iverson had 31 points and 10 assists, and Carmelo Anthony added 29 points. The Nuggets have won 14 of their last 15 home games against the Blazers.
LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 24 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, only his third double-double of the season. Zach Randolph added 26 points for Portland and Brandon Roy had 16.
Bulls 95, Celtics 87
At Chicago, rookie Tyrus Thomas scored a career-high 23 points, while Ben Wallace added 19 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Paul Pierce scored 24 points and Delonte West added 19 after missing two games with a mild concussion for the Celtics, who wore white while the Bulls were in special St. Patrick's Day green uniforms.
Pistons 101, SuperSonics 97
At Seattle, Chris Webber scored 24 points, Tayshaun Prince added 18, and Detroit improved to 3-0 on its five-game West Coast road swing.
Rasheed Wallace returned from his one-game suspension to add 15 points. Ray Allen led Seattle with 27 points, 14 in the fourth quarter.
Hawks 104, 76ers 92
At Atlanta, Josh Smith had 26 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, helping the Hawks to their fourth straight victory and ending the 76ers' seven-game winning streak.
At 26-39 and with 17 games remaining, the Hawks matched their victory total of last season. Surprisingly, Atlanta hasn't lost since leading scorer Joe Johnson suffered a right leg contusion in a March 5 loss at Miami.