- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MIAMI (AP) - At halftime, the Miami Heat had a celebration. After the game, the Orlando Magic were the ones in a joyous mood.

Dwight Howard scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, passing Wilt Chamberlain as the youngest NBA player to reach the 5,000-board mark, and the Magic kept their grip on the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference by beating the Heat 101-95 on Monday _ spoiling a night when Miami retired Alonzo Mourning’s number.

Rashard Lewis scored 21 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:32 remaining for Orlando (55-18), which stayed five games behind Cleveland and percentage points ahead of defending champion Boston in the East race.

“It came down to whoever wanted it the most,” Howard said. “I just kept telling my team, ‘This is our game. They can’t stop us.’ We just had to keep playing.”

Dwyane Wade scored 13 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter for the Heat (39-35), whose edge over Philadelphia for the East’s No. 5 seed was trimmed to one game, despite the lift that came from seeing Mourning’s jersey being retired in a 43-minute halftime ceremony.



“Still a great night for the franchise and Alonzo. That was a heck of a ceremony and no one deserved that more,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It was great to finally see one of ours from the Miami Heat family go up there.”

Miami lost the game and a key reserve.

Backup point guard Luther Head broke his left hand during the game and will miss four to six weeks, meaning there likely will be no way he’s available for Miami’s first-round playoff series.

“It means other guys will have to step up more,” Wade said. “I’m fine having the ball in my hands more. That’s no problem at all.”

The series has been one-sided, with Orlando having won 12 of the last 13 meetings between the clubs.

This game wasn’t.

There were seven lead changes and four ties in the final 5:49. Three times in a span of 2 1/2 minutes, Wade either had a dunk or a layup that gave the Heat the lead, the last of those coming with 2:52 left and putting Miami up 92-91.

Howard rattled home the second of two free throws to tie it, Lewis got free for a 3-pointer from near the Heat bench, and Hedo Turkoglu found Howard under the basket for a layup that put the Magic up 97-92 with 50.5 seconds remaining.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game,” Lewis said, “but we were able to stick around and get the win at the end.”

Howard reached the 5,000-rebound mark _ he now has 5,006 _ at the age of 23 years, 112 days. Chamberlain was 25 years, 128 days old when he got his 5,000th rebound.

“The one thing our team deserves credit for is they have a lot of resolve,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “There are nights we don’t play very well. Tonight, I thought we made two good plays in the game and came out with the win.”

Bucks 107, Nets 78

At East Rutherford, N.J., Richard Jefferson had 29 points and 10 rebounds against his former teammates and Milwaukee snapped a season-high five-game losing streak.

Charlie Villanueva added 20 points for the Bucks, who kept their slim hopes for a playoff berth alive by snapping a seven-game road losing streak and sending the Nets to their fifth straight loss, matching their season high.

The win was only the fifth in 19 games for Milwaukee, which is four games behind Chicago in the race for the final playoff berth in the East.

Chris Douglas-Roberts had 14 points for New Jersey, which suffered its second embarrassing loss in 24 hours.

Jazz 112, Knicks 104

At Salt Lake City, Deron Williams had 24 points and 13 assists and the Jazz rallied after blowing a huge lead at home for the second straight game.

The Jazz led by 24 early in the third quarter, but fell behind by a point in the fourth before regrouping and closing the game on a 20-11 run.

Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 11 rebounds and the Jazz won their 15th straight at home.

Al Harrington scored 24 to lead the Knicks before getting ejected with two technicals for arguing a foul call with 22 seconds left.

Grizzlies 114, Warriors 109

At Oakland, Calif., O.J. Mayo scored 24 points and had a career-high 10 assists, Rudy Gay added 21 points and Memphis rallied from nine points down in the fourth quarter.

Mayo struggled with his shot most of the night, but made a pair of free throws on technical fouls in the fourth quarter and added a driving layup with 2 minutes left to cap a 25-5 run for Memphis.

Mike Conley added 21 points and six rebounds for the Grizzlies, who won for just the fourth time in 22 games.

Monta Ellis had 29 points for Golden State, which suited up just eight players for the second straight game and lost its fifth in a row.

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