MIAMI - MARCH 14: Forward LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat smiles against the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Arena on March 14, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

NBA Scores And More: Heat Earn Revenge On Spurs; Lakers Take Out Magic

The Heat returned the favor with a 30-point win over the Spurs. Miami's Big Three scored as many as the entire San Antonio roster. In other action, the Lakers used a big third quarter from Kobe Bryant to beat the Magic and the Celtics fell to the mighty Nets.

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Spurs Vs. Heat: Chris Bosh, Miami Wade Crush San Antonio In Revenge Match

Remember when the San Antonio Spurs crushed the Miami Heat by 30 points, and other teams jumped up to smack the South Beach Three while they were down, and it meant everything and nothing, depending on who you asked? And then do you remember a little more than a week later when the teams reconvened in south Florida and the Heat crushed the Spurs by 30, and everyone who made sweeping statements a little more than a week prior stood up and excused themselves from the table and cried in the bathroom about how wrong they'd been?

Me neither.

The Heat did indeed crush the Spurs 110-80; Miami's triptych of All-Stars scored as many points as the entire roster of the best team in the NBA. Chris Bosh scored 30 on 10-16 shooting to go with 12 rebounds. Dwyane Wade had 29 points and nine rebounds. LeBron James did his Oscar Robertson impersonation with 21 points, eight assists and six rebounds. But no one will say that the Heat have solved themselves, or that everyone who counted them out was wrong. The haters will preen about something like learning from their mistakes and seeing the light, or something. It's still not a close game, right? The Heat still can't win the close game. Ha!

Pardon the flippancy, but everything about the Heat and the coverage of the Heat is so absurd and otherworldly that my axe gets the better of me. As it turns out, the Spurs are a wonderful team who sometimes (oftentimes?) cannot be stopped, and (very) occasionally can't get on track and concede early. The Heat are a great team who sometimes (oftentimes?) cannot be stopped, but often struggles against the very best defenses, falling into a jump-shooting rut and then struggling on defense because they are always, well, on the defensive. Good offense helps a defense, because it's more difficult to get into your defense off the rebound than when the opponent is taking the ball out of the basket.

The Spurs were taking the ball out of the basket all night against Miami. The Heat shot 54 percent. San Antonio had just 12 in transition, and had to play five-on-five against a team with two of the best perimeter defenders in the world in Wade and James. This is why Miami is feared. Because Erik Spoelstra and his staff figure things out, and they have the best tools in the shed to implement the fixes. The Heat fixed whatever was wrong last week, and it's terrifying.

I suppose we can look forward to a 2011 NBA Finals in which the Spurs and Heat take turns slaughtering each other in their own gyms.


Magic Vs. Lakers: Kobe Bryant Takes Over In Third As L.A. Beats Orlando

Kobe Bryant, be it knee injury or general exhaustion, didn't have it early on Monday night. He shot just 2-10 in the first half, and because Kobe didn't have it but kept shooting, it looked like the Los Angeles Lakers were on their way to a loss. But it clicked back together in the third, as Kobe scored 11 points on 5-8 shooting and the Lakers turned a deficit to the Orlando Magic into a lead. The Lakers' bench handled it from there, and L.A. won 97-84.

Kobe ended up shooting 7-19. He played just over two minutes in the fourth, because his bench was kind enough to 71-66 lead at the end of the third into 85-69 lead a few minutes into the final period. Phil Jackson took the opportunity to rest Kobe, who was a game-time decision due to an ankle sprain aggravated in Saturday's win over the Dallas Mavericks. Bryant hasn't missed a game all season.

Dwight Howard was powerful for the Magic, scoring 22 points on 8-14 shooting with 15 rebounds and two blocks. But Howard had an unbelievable nine turnovers -- half of Orlando's 18 -- and that helped the Lakers to 20 fast-break points.The Lakers, meanwhile, only turned the ball over three times, tying the season's lowest mark (Philadelphia had three vs. the Clippers in December). The difference between three turnovers and 18 made up for Orlando's better shooting. The Lakers' 14 offensive rebounds didn't hurt, either.

Gilbert Arenas shot 0-6 off the bench.


Celtics Vs. Nets: Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries Dominate Boston

Brook Lopez scored 20 points and his partner Kris Humphries had 16 points and 15 rebounds as the New Jersey Nets upset the Boston Celtics 88-79 in Newark on Monday. The Nets have now won five straight, and are only 5.5 games out of a playoff spot. That seems like a great margin, but if you've paid attention to the teams battling for the No. 8 seed in the East, you'd know that anything is possible.

New Jersey went on a 14-1 between the third and fourth quarters to pull what proved to be an insurmountable lead. Oddly enough, Deron Williams, Lopez and Humphries were on the bench for all of it. But so was Kevin Garnett, and this is where the Celtics miss Kendrick Perkins -- there's simply no second defensive big man to rely on right now. A healthy Jermaine O'Neal could solve that problem, but a healthy Jermaine O'Neal isn't an option right now, or maybe ever. (The 14-1 run, by the way, included six points from Sundiata Gaines and five from Travis Outlaw. Stars!)

The Celtics slipped into a tie with the Chicago Bulls for the No. 1 seed in the East, and by virtue of their win over the Spurs, the Miami Heat moved a full game closer. The No. 1 seed in the West is likely more vital this season than in any of the past three, because the No. 7 Sixers and No. 6 Knicks pose greater challenges than whoever lands at No. 8, unless, of course, the Nets land at No. 8.

In other action:

Nuggets 114, Hornets 103: Chris Paul's 27 points and 10 assists couldn't Ty Lawson's 23 points and 10 assists. More accurately, CP3's team couldn't keep up with Lawson's. Raymond Felton added 22 and 12 off the bench, meaning Denver's point guards contributed 45 points and 22 assists. Well done!

Rockets 95, Suns 93: Kevin Martin scored 23 on 8-16 shooting as the Rockets edged Phoenix. The Suns trailed all game long and made it interesting in the fourth, but couldn't pull a lead. Josh Childress played nearly the entire fourth, with seven points, four rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal. It turns out he's good!

Jazz 112, 76ers 107: Philadelphia trailed by as many as 21, but came back with brilliant fourth quarter performances from Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and Elton Brand. Alas, Andrei Kirilenko scored seven in overtime. Jazz win.

Grizzlies 105, Clippers 82: Zach Randolph just shredded Blake Griffin. Z-Bo had 30 and 12. Griffin had eight and nine. Memphis earned 14 steals.

Thunder 116, Wizards 89: Kevin Durant poured in his easiest 32 of the season and OKC rolled. Daequan Cook hit six of nine threes off the bench.

Kings 129, Warriors 119: I might finally understand we so many are so down on these Warriors. The Kings ripped out to a 19-3 lead and dominated vast stretches of the game. Marcus Thornton dropped 42 points on Monta Ellis, 26 of which came in the first half. Samuel Dalembert had a career-high 27 points with 16 rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins fouled out in 26 minutes, but not before he racked up 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. This is a 90-minute road trip in the car for the Warriors. I know they played Sunday at home, but jeez.

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