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Heat 98, Nuggets 93

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- LeBron James had 27 points and 12 assists, Shane Battier scored 18 points, all on 3-pointers, and the Miami Heat overcame the absence of Dwyane Wade to beat the Denver Nuggets 98-93 on Thursday night.

Andre Miller and JaVale McGee came off the bench to pace the Nuggets with 19 and 18 points, respectively. Kenneth Faried finished with 16 points and a career-high 20 rebounds for Denver, which lost to the Heat at home for the first time in more than 10 years.

Wade was inactive due to a strained right foot. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the move was precautionary and that the guard is day-to-day.

Miami point guard Mario Chalmers left the game in the first quarter with a strained right triceps and didn't return.

The Heat came into the game shooting 42 percent from 3-point range, but they improved that average against Denver. Led by Battier and Mike Miller, Miami was 11-for-20 from long range in the first three quarters to lead by as many as 19.

Trailing 79-64, the Nuggets used a 17-4 run, sparked by some big buckets from McGee and Miller, to cut the lead to 83-81 with 7:20 left.

Denver nearly took its first lead when Ty Lawson sank a fastbreak layup, but it was waved off when Battier drew a charge with 5:35 left. Battier then hit his sixth 3-pointer of the game to give Miami a 90-84 lead.

Miller made his second 3-pointer, but James, who had 40 points in the teams' first meeting 12 days ago, scored on a baseline jumper to make it 92-87.

After Denver trimmed the deficit to one, Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari airballed a 3-pointer. Norris Cole hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 51.4 seconds left to put the Heat up 95-91.

Miami finished 13-for-27 (48.1 percent) from 3-point range.

James scored 12 points and Chris Bosh had 10 to help the Heat take a 54-42 halftime lead.

Faried had nine points and 13 rebounds -- eight offensive -- and Jordan Hamilton had nine points in the second quarter for the Nuggets.

The Nuggets trailed by as many as eight in the first quarter but cut it to five on Jordan Hamilton's first 3-pointer early in the second. The Heat responded with 10-3 run to go up 42-30 midway through the period.

Hamilton hit two more 3-pointers and Faried hit two free throws to pull Denver to 45-40 with 3:07 left in the half.

Bosh sank two free throws and a short hook in the lane before Ray Allen drained a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left to help extend the lead to nine at the break.

The Heat started strong in the first quarter, led by Battier's trio of 3-pointers that helped them take a 28-20 lead. James, who was booed when he touched the ball for the first time, brought the fans to their feet when he blocked a shot at one end and scored on an alley-oop at the other.

NOTES: The Nuggets entered the game 30th in the league in foul shooting and 25th in 3-point percentage, but they were seventh in scoring. ... The Nuggets entered Thursday having won 10 in a row at home against the Heat. Miami's last win in Denver was Jan. 29, 2002. ... The Heat did not shoot a foul shot in the first quarter but had eight 3-point attempts.
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