Heat 97, Nuggets 94

Michael Kelly, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Forward LeBron James had 26 points and 10 assists and the Miami Heat beat the reeling Denver Nuggets 97-94 on Monday night.
Center Chris Bosh had 17 points for Miami, which finished its Western Conference road trip 3-1.
Guard Ty Lawson scored 26 points and center J.J. Hickson had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who have lost seven straight.
Facing the two-time defending champions wasn't an ideal situation to end Denver's longest losing streak in nine years.
The Heat swept the season series last year by winning at Pepsi Center for the first time since 2001-02. It became a point of emphasis for the players and coaches last year, and they wanted to make it two straight Monday.
It was close to the end.
The game was tied at 87 when James, who was content to pass for most of the period, scored two buckets to give the Heat a 91-90 lead. After a Denver miss, guard Ray Allen hit a floating jumper.
Forward Wilson Chandler's dunk made it a one-point game again, but Miami forward Michael Beasley hit a 3-pointer from the top of the circle to make it 96-92 with 30 seconds left.
Guard Randy Foye's driving layup cut the lead in half, and after Allen made just one of two free throws, Lawson's 3-point attempt was off.
Denver had one more chance with 1.7 seconds left but Hickson couldn't inbound the ball and turned it over on a five-second violation.
The Heat got James back but lost two more players. Guard Dwyane Wade didn't play after halftime because of back spasms and guard Norris Cole left the game early in the third after he slammed his head onto the floor on a foul by Lawson. He was helped to the locker room by teammates and didn't return.
The Heat started the game with an 8-0 run before Denver rallied to take a 55-46 lead. Miami began the second half the same way -- with a big run. The Heat scored the first 13 points of the third before the Nuggets woke up.
Forward Darrell Arthur, who came into Monday averaging 5.6 points, scored six in the third alone to spark a comeback. Denver went on a 14-7 run to end the period and led 77-72 entering the fourth.
NOTES: Heat F/C Chris Andersen (sore back) missed his third straight game. ... Denver coach Brian Shaw continued to juggle his lineup to try to find a spark. Jordan Hamilton started at shooting guard for G Randy Foye for the third straight game. "We don't have an identity. We're in a state of discovery right now," Shaw said. "We're trying to figure out what we have in terms of our personnel." ... Miami C Chris Bosh was named the NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 22.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in four games. He had 37 points and 10 rebounds against Portland on Saturday and hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left. ... Nuggets F Darrell Arthur returned to the lineup after missing two games with a right quadriceps contusion.

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