Backups help Heat in rout of Hawks


For the Miami Heat, the third quarter was pretty much the whole story. Chris Bosh tumbled over some courtside seats on one end, and LeBron James apologized to a few fans during one particularly frustrating moment on the other.

In between, Mario Chalmers gave the Heat all the boost they needed.

Chalmers went on a personal 9-0 run in a 39-second span of the period, Bosh led all scorers with 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting, and the Heat went on to beat the Atlanta Hawks 104-88 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.

“We just try to get out in transition, let our defense be our offense most of the time and keep working from there,” Chalmers said.

Ray Allen scored 17 in his first game back from a bout with the flu. Chalmers had 12 of his 14 in the third quarter for the Heat, who were without Dwyane Wade for the second time this season. James finished with a season-low 13 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Heat (8-3), and no starter played in the final 12 minutes while backups put away the game.

“We’re very confident in our lineup we got, man,” James said. “Those guys continue to play well. They continue to work together and it’s great to have a Hall of Famer in that lineup with Ray coming back.”

Mike Scott scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which got 12 points apiece from Al Horford and Pero Antic. Kyle Korver made three 3-pointers for the Hawks, extending his streak to 84 consecutive games with at least one make from beyond the arc, five shy of matching Dana Barros’ NBA record.

“It’s a constant battle,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said of playing the Heat. “They take away something. Hopefully you can find something else. At times we did and at times we didn’t.”

Miami’s lead was 56-54 in the third quarter when Chalmers got hot — in a hurry. James Jones, who started in place of Wade, actually started what became a 15-2 run with a 3-pointer, and then Chalmers got going.

He cut across the lane for a reverse layup while getting fouled, then made a 3-pointer from the left wing after an Atlanta turnover. Jeff Teague missed a layup on the next Hawks possession, James wound up throwing a chest pass from about 15 meters to Chalmers, who pulled up on the catch and connected on another 3-pointer from the same spot.

Just like that, 56-54 became 68-54. And Bosh provided one of the night’s highlights by giving the crowd a rather comical thumbs-up after his dive into the expensive seats, plus was thrilled to learn afterward that the photo quickly made its rounds on social media.

“You don’t get to go in the stands much,” Bosh said.

Atlanta carved the deficit to 10 entering the fourth, but the Heat — with five reserves on the court — then showed off their depth.

Allen scored Miami’s first 12 points of the final quarter, Michael Beasley added the next four, and the Heat lead grew 94-78 with 5 minutes remaining.

Rockets 109, Celtics 85

In Houston, Terrence Jones scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Rockets over Boston to their third straight victory.

Jones was 10 of 12 from the field as Houston shot 57 percent as a team, including 72 percent in the first half in building a 24-point halftime lead.

Patrick Beverley chipped in 16 points, James Harden added 15 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Dwight Howard had 10 points and 11 rebounds as the Rockets raced out to a 17-point, first-quarter lead and were never threatened.

Pistons 92, Knicks 86

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Rodney Stuckey scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, and Detroit beat New York for the first time in eight meetings.

Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 25 points.

Wizards 104, Timberwolves 100

In Washington, Bradley Beal scored 25 points, John Wall added 14 points and tied his career high with 16 assists, and the Wizards beat Minnesota to snap a four-game losing streak.

Kevin Love led the Timberwolves with 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Kevin Martin, who was averaging 24.4 points, was held to 11.

Kings 107, Suns 104

In Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins had 27 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Kings rally to beat Phoenix.