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James and Heat take down struggling Nuggets

Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James celebrated his 29th birthday with 26 points and 10 assists to lead the Miami Heat to a 97-94 win over the Denver Nuggets from Pepsi Center.

Chris Bosh scored 17 points on the heels of his Eastern Conference Player of the Week honor, while Ray Allen added 13 points off the bench in the win, Miami's eighth victory in its last nine tilts.

Dwyane Wade netted 12 points, but left early in the third quarter with back spasms and did not return.

"They are a very, very good team, especially at home," said James. "It was good that we were able to get this win."

Miami finished off its four-game West Coast road swing with a 3-1 mark.

Ty Lawson matched James with 26 points and added seven assists for Denver, which is in the midst of a season-high seven-game losing streak.

Wilson Chandler and Darrell Arthur each chipped in with 13 points, while JJ Hickson recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

With the Heat holding an 89-87 advantage, Lawson drilled a 3 from the wing with 2:48 to play in the game.

James drained an elbow jumper on the ensuing possession with the shot clock winding down to regain the lead for the visitors.

Allen then followed with a running jumper -- also with the shot clock expiring -- to put the Heat up 93-90 with 1 1/2 minutes left.

The Nuggets called timeout and coach Brian Shaw drew up a perfect back-door play that ended with a Chandler slam to trim the deficit to one.

Of all players, Michael Beasley delivered what would ultimately be the dagger shot to end the game.

James drove and kicked to Beasley, who buried a trey at the top of the key to extend the Heat lead to 96-92 with 30 seconds left.

Foye made a quick driving layup and Allen was fouled, but only made 1-of-2 to leave the door open for Denver to tie.

Lawson dribbled the clock down and had Bosh dancing all around at the top of the circle. but his 3-pointer was off the mark. However, Udonis Haslem knocked the loose ball out of bounds with 1.8 seconds left.

The Nuggets couldn't get another shot off, though, as Hickson was whistled for a 5-second call and the Heat ran out the remainder of the clock.

"Valiant effort from our guys," said Shaw. "If we played with that kind of energy and that kind of tenacity we'll win more games than we lose.The biggest thing tonight is the third quarter."

Denver brought a 55-46 lead into the locker room, but Miami would open the third on a 13-0 run to grab a four-point edge 3:14 into the frame.

No team would lead by more than five after that.

Game Notes

Denver was 10-for-11 (90.9 percent) from the free throw line ... Randy Foye had 11 points with a season-high seven points in the loss ... Chris Andersen missed third straight game (body soreness) ... Miami shot 34-for-67 from the field (50.7 percent) ... Nuggets outscored the Heat in the paint 48-28 and in second chance points 18-7.

12/31 00:34:47 ET

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Standings

2013 - 2014 Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Toronto 48 34 .585 --- 26-15 22-19 32-20 L 1
x-Brooklyn 44 38 .537 4 28-13 16-25 26-26 L 2
New York 37 45 .451 11 19-22 18-23 26-26 W 4
Boston 25 57 .305 23 16-25 9-32 21-31 L 2
Philadelphia 19 63 .232 29 10-31 9-32 14-38 W 2
 
Central W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Indiana 56 26 .683 --- 35-6 21-20 38-14 W 2
x-Chicago 48 34 .585 8 27-14 21-20 35-17 L 1
Cleveland 33 49 .402 23 19-22 14-27 21-31 W 1
Detroit 29 53 .354 27 17-24 12-29 23-29 L 4
Milwaukee 15 67 .183 41 10-31 5-36 12-40 L 3
 
Southeast W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Miami 54 28 .659 --- 32-9 22-19 34-18 L 3
x-Washington 44 38 .537 10 22-19 22-19 33-19 W 4
x-Charlotte 43 39 .524 11 25-16 18-23 30-22 W 3
x-Atlanta 38 44 .463 16 24-17 14-27 28-24 W 1
Orlando 23 59 .280 31 19-22 4-37 17-35 L 4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
2013 - 2014 Western Conference Standings
 
Northwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Oklahoma City 59 23 .720 --- 34-7 25-16 36-16 W 1
x-Portland 54 28 .659 5 31-10 23-18 31-21 W 5
Minnesota 40 42 .488 19 24-17 16-25 23-29 L 3
Denver 36 46 .439 23 22-19 14-27 20-32 L 2
Utah 25 57 .305 34 16-25 9-32 13-39 W 1
 
Pacific W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-LA Clippers 57 25 .695 --- 34-7 23-18 36-16 L 1
x-Golden State 51 31 .622 6 27-14 24-17 31-21 W 2
Phoenix 48 34 .585 9 26-15 22-19 28-24 W 1
Sacramento 28 54 .341 29 17-24 11-30 15-37 L 1
LA Lakers 27 55 .329 30 14-27 13-28 15-37 W 2
 
Southwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-San Antonio 62 20 .756 --- 32-9 30-11 38-14 L 2
x-Houston 54 28 .659 8 33-8 21-20 31-21 L 1
x-Memphis 50 32 .610 12 27-14 23-18 29-23 W 5
x-Dallas 49 33 .598 13 26-15 23-18 29-23 L 1
New Orleans 34 48 .415 28 22-19 12-29 15-37 W 2
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUR 3
NOR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
PHI 1
ATL 0
Final
DET 7
CLE 5
Final
MIN 7
TOR 0
Final
TEX 8
SEA 6
Final
SFG 1
LOS 2
Final
SDP 1
COL 3
Final
PIT 11
MIL 2
Final
WAS 0
STL 8
Final
TAM 2
NYY 10
Final
MIN 9
TOR 5
Final
CWS 1
BOS 3
Final
HOU 1
KAN 5
2:20pm Today
CHC
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
STL
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
TOR
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
ANA
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
ATL
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
SEA
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
CWS
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
MIN
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
PHI
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
HOU
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
 
Final
NYR 4
PHI 1
Final
STL 4
CHI 3
Final
COL 5
MIN 4
Final
SJS 6
LOS 3
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MON
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
DET
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
Final
DUR 3
NOR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR