MIAMI, FL - MARCH 08: Mike Bibby #0 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat talk during a game against the Portland Trail Blazers at American Airlines Arena on March 8, 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

NBA Scores And More: Heat Lose Again, Lakers Keep Streaking

The Heat have now dropped five straight games, with the Lakers -- who pounded the Hawks -- coming to town on Thursday. In other action, Vince Carter (!) led the Suns over the Rockets with a huge fourth quarter.

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Blazers Vs. Heat: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade Go Big, But Miami Loses Again

The Miami Heat have now lost five straight games as the Portland Trail Blazers delivered a 105-96 beating in South Beach. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were excellent on offense, with the two-time defending MVP dropping 31 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and his two-guard totaling 38 points on 12-21 shooting. But the rest of Miami was dreadful, and the Heat's defense wasn't so hot (to say the least), and Chris Bosh was manhandled by LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge scored 26 points on 11-20 shooting, outperforming Bosh -- 3-11 shooting, seven points -- by a wide enough margin to make up from the James/Wade explosions. Gerald Wallace was a revelation off of the bench, too, scoring 22 points and grabbing nine rebounds in 34 minutes. Brandon Roy put in a strong night with 14 points on 5-8 shooting off the bench, and Marcus Camby exploited Miami's thin frontline with six big offensive rebounds in less than 20 minutes of work.

Excepting the tight loss to the Bulls on Sunday, Miami's defense has been a real problem. The Magic scored quite efficiently in beating the Heat last Thursday (1.15 points per possession), and San Antonio shredded Miami (1.33 ppp). Portland scored 1.22 points per possession against the Heat despite averaging about 1.08 (No. 11 in the NBA) on the season. Miami's poor defensive rebounding is part of it, but a lack of turnover creation is something that hurts the Heat on both ends. Miami is at its best forcing mistakes on the perimeter, and punishing the opponent in transition. That isn't happening right now, or at least it's not happening in the crucial moments.

The Heat host the streaking Lakers on Thursday. Should be a blast.


Lakers Vs. Hawks: Kobe Bryant Helps L.A. Pound Atlanta

The Los Angeles Lakers are off to a wonderful start on the road, beating the Atlanta Hawks 101-87 on Tuesday. The champs are 8-0 since All-Star Weekend, and have won the first two games of what looked to be a brutal four-game road trip by a combined 30 points. The Miami Heat await on Thursday, and the Lakers visit Dallas on Saturday night.

Kobe Bryant scored 26 to pace L.A., and in the process passed Moses Malone for No. 6 on the NBA's all-time scoring list. He entered season in a sweet spot in terms of how tightly legends were grouped together on the list; he's passed Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon, Oscar Robertson, Dominique Wilkins and John Havlicek this season, too.

The Hawks stayed close in the first quarter, but Lamar Odom and Kobe killed 'em in the second. Bryant scored 11 on 4-8 shooting in six minutes in the second, and Odom added six points as the Lakers opened up an eight-point halftime lead. It got nastier from there -- Atlanta scored just 16 in the third quarter, shooting 5-20.

Andrew Bynum had another wonderful game with 16 points and 16 rebounds.


Rockets Vs. Suns: Vince Carter Mighty In Vital Phoenix Win

The Phoenix Suns haven't slowed down one bit since losing sweet-shooting big man Channing Frye, with Tuesday's tight victory over the Houston Rockets the latest positive result. The Suns, fighting desperately to win a coveted playoff bid but currently sitting in the No. 9 spot, faced a team in a similar predicament: Houston got above .500 on Monday against Sacramento, and looked to build its case for the No. 8. Phoenix held them off, though.

Vince Carter was spectacular, scoring 32 points on 13-17 shooting that included 5-7 from long-range. It was his second straight huge night -- he scored 29 in a narrow loss to the Thunder on Sunday. Hakim Warrick joined Carter on the podium with  32 of his own on 14-19 shooting; as you'd expect Steve Nash really racked up the assists, with 14. Phoenix took the lead for the final time with about 10 minutes left in the fourth. Carter scored 15 in the final quarter alone, as Houston couldn't find a way to stop him.

Kyle Lowry led the Rockets with 32, and top scorer Kevin Martin had just 17 on 5-16 shooting. Over his last two games the normally hyperefficient Martin has shot 8-30.

In other action:

76ers 110, Pacers 100: It's not clear Indiana is actually prepared to take the No. 8 seed laying on the silver platter in front of it. Philadelphia's good, and better than the Pacers. But the Sixers aren't world-beaters, and the Pacers need wins like this to pull away from the Bobcats and Bucks. Only Tyler Hansbrough's 26 made this respectable.

Warriors 95, Cavaliers 85: Cleveland jumped out of the gate on Golden State, but the Warriors hammered back hard in the second and third quarters. Monta Ellis scored 24 and Stephen Curry had 23; Ellis actually hit six of Golden State's eight three-pointers. Baron Davis led the Cavs with 19 points and six assists. With Antawn Jamison and Anderson Varejao injured, Davis could very well be the Cavs' best player. Let that sink in for a minute.

Bucks 95, Wizards 76: Washington is legitimately bad -- there's no two ways about it. The Bucks are only two back from the Pacers in the loss column (with Charlotte in the way), and if they play like this against better teams and squeeze out some unlikely wins, the East's No. 1 could get a tougher test than expected.

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