MIAMI, FL - MARCH 27: Center Erick Dampier #25 of the Miami Heat defends against Center Chuck Hayes #44 of the Houston Rockets at American Airlines Arena on March 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Rockets Lose To Heat, Grizzlies Win To Push Houston 2.5 Games Behind Memphis

The Houston Rockets travel to Miami to take on the Heat Sunday as they try to catch Memphis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

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Rockets Loss To Heat Coupled With Memphis Win Over Spurs Puts Serious Dent In Playoff Run

Final Score: Miami 125, Houston 119

Miami, FL (Sports Network) - LeBron James finished with a game-high 33 points to go along with 10 rebounds and seven assists as the Heat topped the Rockets, 125-119, at American Airlines Arena.

Chris Bosh posted 31 points and 12 rebounds while Dwayne Wade scored 30 with 11 rebounds and five assists for Miami, which won its fifth straight and eighth in nine games.

Miami is now even with the Boston Celtics for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, with the Celtics currently in progress at Minnesota.

Kevin Martin paced Houston with 29 points. Luis Scola added 28 points before fouling out and Kyle Lowry scored 25 with nine assists in the loss that snapped a five-game winning streak.

"It's a tough loss," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "(The Heat) played their tails off. If there was anything that hurt us, it was their penetration and their rebounding."

The game entered the final stanza tied at 93. After trading baskets for most of the quarter Miami expanded their lead to a game-high 116-106 on James' jumper with 3:35 remaining.

However, after consecutive Scola baskets it was down to 116-110, and after a Wade bank-shot, Chase Budinger canned a three-pointer and Lowry connected on an acrobatic tip-in with 51 seconds remaining to make it a one-possession game, 118-115.

Wade sank a driving layup with 33.8 seconds remaining to give Miami a 120-115 advantage, and after Bosh made 1-of-2 from the line it was back up to six.

After Scola made a driving layup with 18.8 ticks remaining, James and Bosh both iced pairs from the line to widened the Heat's advantage to 125-117 with Martin's layup accounting for the final margin.

Both teams shot over 60 percent from the field in the first as the Heat took a 38-37 lead into the second. The second quarter remained a back-and-forth scoring effort, and after ending the quarter on a 7-0 run, the Heat held a 71-68 lead at the break.

Martin paced the Rockets with 11 points in the third quarter as Houston tied the game at 93 entering the fourth.

Game Notes

The Rockets began a three-game road trip that will include visits to New Jersey and Philadelphia...The Heat held a 48-33 rebounding advantage...Mike Bibby scored 14 points, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, for the Heat...Budinger finished with 16 points for Houston.


Rockets Take On Heat In Miami, Still 1.5 Games Behind Memphis For Final Playoff Spot

Houston Rockets (38-34) at Miami Heat (50-22), 6 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The surging Miami Heat play host to the playoff-hopeful Houston Rockets in the shadow on South Beach on Sunday.

The Heat are already assured of a playoff spot but have their eye on moving up the Eastern Conference standings and enter tonight's contest one-half game behind Boston for the second spot in the East.

Miami earned its fourth straight win on Friday when Dwyane Wade scored 39 points and LeBron James added 32 as the Heat pulled away for a 111-99 victory over Philadelphia in a late-season preview of a potential playoff series.

Chris Bosh scored 20, giving Miami's three stars 91 of the team's 111 points.

"That's tough to beat," said Philadelphia head coach Doug Collins.

Still, it took a 34-17 fourth quarter for the Heat to knock off the pesky 76ers for their seventh win in eight games.

"It was very puzzling the amount of turnovers (13) we had in the first half. It really took us out of our normal rhythm," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "With that said, it was very competitive in the second half. Our defense was about as active as it could be."

The Rockets, meanwhile, come in well-rested after a 131-112 win over Golden State in Space City back on Wednesday. Charles Hayes tallied his first career triple- double with 13 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists to lead Houston's well-balanced attack, which saw all starters score in double digits, in that one.

Kevin Martin scored 34 points, Courtney Lee added 25 and Luis Scola notched 20 with 10 rebounds for Houston, which matched a season-high with their fifth straight victory but remains 1 1/2 games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Kyle Lowry chipped in 13 points as the Rockets finished a six-game homestand at 5-1.

"I can't say how pleased I am with someone like Chuck (Hayes)," said Houston head coach Rick Adelman. "That's just terrific with a guy like that and the way he works and the things he's done. I can't emphasize enough the improvements he's made offensively to be more than just a screener. He's becoming a great passer. He attacks them. It's just a pleasure to watch a guy like that with his work ethic."

The Rockets, who are kicking off a three-game road trip that will also include visits to New Jersey and Philadelphia, have lost three consecutive to the Heat.

"You can only win your games because that's the only way we're going to get there," Adelman told Houston's website. "We started this thing by going on the road and winning, and that's what we're going to have to continue to do."

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