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Nuggets 111, Heat 107

The SportsXchange

Matters keep growing worse for the two-time defending NBA champions.

The Miami Heat have now dropped five of their last six games after a 111-107 loss to the Nuggets Friday at American Airlines Arena.

Forward Kenneth Faried registered a double-double, scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to lead the Nuggets.

Down by four, forward LeBron James missed a 3-pointer with 26.9 seconds remaining. The Nuggets corralled the rebound, and it was free throws from then on out.

After the Heat cut a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to four, Denver went on a 10-2 run capped by a four-point play from forward Wilson Chandler in the corner with 3:47 that turned it back to a 12-point affair.

Miami crept back in with an ensuing 9-0 run that included 3-pointers from guards Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen, who scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth.

Denver improved to 2-2 on its current five-game road trip.

The current stretch matches the worst six-game run for the Heat since the start of the Big 3 era in the 2010-11 season. The loss, coupled with a Pacers win in Philadelphia, puts the Heat three games back of Indiana for the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed.

The Nuggets led 58-53 at halftime Friday. Guard Evan Fournier came off the bench to score 12 of his 14 in the first half.

The Heat led by as many as 14 in the first quarter before a second quarter where they surrendered 38 points to Denver. James and Wade, who each scored in double figures through one, only combined for four points in second quarter where the Heat were outscored by 15.

Miami built its early lead with strong play from in close. The Heat scored 22 points in the paint in the first quarter, including their first 14 on the night.

Denver wraps up its five-game road trip on the second night of a back-to-back in Atlanta on Saturday. Miami hosts the Rockets on Sunday.

NOTES: The Heat signed C Justin Hamilton on Friday. G/F DeAndre Liggins was released from his second 10-day contract with Miami to make room for Hamilton, who played with the Heat's D-League affiliate, Sioux Falls, before joining the Bobcats on a 10-day contract earlier this season. ... First-year Nuggets coach Brian Shaw returned to some old stomping grounds on Friday. Shaw played with the Heat from 1992-94. He still holds a tie for the franchise record for 3-pointers in a game with 10 on April 8, 1993 against Milwaukee. ... Since scoring a career-high 61 points against the Bobcats on March 3, F LeBron James entered Friday averaging 20 points per game in his ensuing five games, well below his 26.9 season average. ... After shooting 51 percent against the Magic on Wednesday, the Nuggets are 13-1 in games where they shoot over 50 percent.
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