NBA: James returns with 27 points to lift Miami

2013-04-07T00:00:00Z NBA: James returns with 27 points to lift MiamiThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

MIAMI - LeBron James went through a series of tests before the game, all under the watchful eye of the Miami Heat training staff and some coaches.

He passed with flying colors, and looked good as new afterward.

James scored 27 points after a three-game absence caused by a strained right hamstring, five other Miami players reached double figures, and the Heat moved closer to securing home-court advantage for the entire NBA playoffs by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 106-87 on Saturday night.

"He knows his body better than anybody," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "So he knew how to pace himself and put his fingerprints on the game."

Playing only 31 minutes, James made 12 of 17 shots from the field and added five assists and four rebounds for the Heat, whose magic number for clinching the NBA's best regular-season record was trimmed to two.

Miami moved to 60-16, one win shy of matching the franchise single-season record. The Heat got there after outscoring Philadelphia 29-11 in the fourth quarter.

"We've got a special team," James said. "We've been saying that all year. We don't take this moment for granted. There's not many teams in NBA history that have won 60 games."

• Timberwolves 107, Pistons 101: In Minneapolis, Rick Adelman became the eighth coach in NBA history to win 1,000 games as Minnesota beat Detroit.

Nikola Pekovic had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and J.J. Barea scored 20 points for the Timberwolves, who surrounded their 66-year-old coach when the buzzer sounded.

Adelman grabbed his wife, Mary Kay, and kissed her three times as a video tribute played to honor him.

• Wizards 104, Pacers 85: In Washington, John Wall scored 37 points in a display of speed and flair to lead Washington over Indiana.

Wall made 16 of 25 shots, throwing his palms up after making an improbable 14-foot sideways runner and flexing his muscles to the fans on the first row after banking in a fast-break layup.

• Nets 105, Bobcats 96: In New York, Deron Williams had 32 points and six assists, and Brooklyn strengthened its hold on fourth place in the Eastern Conference by beating Charlotte.

Brooklyn moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Chicago for the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

• Bucks 100, Raptors 83: In Milwaukee, Monta Ellis had 22 points and nine assists, and Milwaukee secured its first playoff berth in three seasons by beating Toronto.

The win pulled the Bucks within two games of idle Boston for the No. 7 seed.

• Spurs 99, Hawks 97: In San Antonio, Tim Duncan had 31 points and 14 rebounds to help short-handed San Antonio escape with a victory over Atlanta.

The Spurs were without Tony Parker (neck) and Manu Ginobili (hamstring strain). The Spurs also lost Boris Diaw, who left midway through the second quarter with back spasms.

• Nuggets 132, Rockets 114: In Denver, Wilson Chandler scored 21 points in place of the injured Danilo Gallinari to help Denver beat Houston for its 20th consecutive win at home, matching a team record.

Ex-UA Wildcat Andre Iguodala had 18 points and a season-high 14 assists.

The Nuggets also won 20 in a row at home from Jan. 9-March 30, 1985.

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