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Wade hot as Heat burn Celtics

DWYANE Wade scored 32 points to continue his recent surge as the Miami Heat held off the short-handed Boston Celtics to win 107-99 on Wednesday.

The All-Star guard tallied eight points in the final quarter and recorded seven assists to lead his team to a rare win over the Celtics, winners in their last six meetings with Miami.

Five other Heat players scored in double figures to lift Miami to its second straight victory.

"Everybody stepped up and contributed because we saw that Wade was a little bit tired," rookie guard Mario Chalmers told reporters after he posted 10 points and seven assists.

"It's a win we'll take. They're the (No. 2) team in the Eastern Conference."

Wade once again shone as he continues to boost his candidacy for the league's MVP.

He was coming off of a 48-point, 12-assist performance against the Chicago Bulls on Monday when he made a dramatic three-pointer at the buzzer to seal the victory.

In other National Basketball Association games, it was: Lakers 102, Rockets 96; Magic 107, Bulls 79; Hawks 100, Jazz 93; Hornets 109, Wizards 98; Knicks 116, Pistons 111 (in overtime); 76ers 115, Raptors 106; Timberwolves 104, Grizzlies 79; Mavericks 93, Trail Blazers 89; Nuggets 112, Thunder 99; and Warriors 116, Nets 112.

In Miami, Boston (49-16) was led by 27 points from Ray Allen along with 23 and 13 rebounds from forward Leon Powe.

However, the defending NBA champions have now lost two games in a row as they struggle to cope with a roster ravaged by injuries.

Starters Kevin Garnett (knee) and Rajon Rondo (ankle) were missing, along with reserves Glen Davis (ankle), Tony Allen (thumb) and Brian Scalabrine (concussion).

The Celtics were still able to mount a late charge with a 16-2 spurt that pulled them within a point of the Heat with 4:52 remaining in the contest.

Wade responded with five straight points and a late three-pointer to put the finishing touches on the win.

Miami (35-29) is currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, 1-1/2 games behind the Atlanta Hawks.

"We're trying to push for Atlanta and that fourth spot," Heat forward Jamario Moon said. "Our coach comes to practice every day and lets us know our position, and we've come out the last couple games and gotten the job done."

Moon scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Jermaine O'Neal added 12 for the Heat.

Boston fell two games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for the East's best record.

In Houston, Kobe Bryant scored 18 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter, winning a contentious duel with Ron Artest, as Los Angeles ended Houston's 12-game, home-court winning streak.

Pau Gasol scored 20 points and Josh Powell added 17 for the Lakers, who overcame the absence of Lamar Odom to snap a three-game road losing streak. Odom, the Lakers' second-leading rebounder, served a one-game suspension for leaving the bench during an altercation in Monday's loss to Portland.

Reserve Von Wafer scored 20 points for the Rockets.


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