LeBron James lead Miami past Chicago

Miami Heat 83, Chicago Bulls 72
Miami forward LeBron James goes up for a shot against Chicago center Joakim Noah. James had 27 points and 11 rebounds in Thursday night's victory.



MIAMI — LeBron James had 27 points and 11 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 18 points and Miami tightened up the race in the East by beating the Bulls 83-72 in a scuffle-filled matchup Thursday night.

Mario Chalmers scored 16 points and Udonis Haslem grabbed 10 rebounds for Miami, which held the Bulls to a season-low point total and moved within 1½ games of Chicago.

The teams combined for four technicals, two flagrant fouls and Miami reserve James Jones was ejected.



In New Orleans, Eric Gordon scored 27 points, Carl Landry had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and New Orleans dealt a blow to Houston’s playoff hopes.

Goran Dragic scored 23 points and Chase Budinger tied a season-high with 22 points for Houston (32-31), which dropped one game behind Utah (33-30) for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with three games left. The Rockets have lost six in a row.



In Indianapolis, Danny Granger scored 29 points to help Indiana beat Milwaukee and clinch home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

George Hill had 22 points and eight assists and David West added 21 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists for the Pacers, who won their seventh in a row and 11th of 12. The Pacers have scored at least 100 points in 12 of their last 13 games.

Brandon Jennings scored 27 points and former Pacer Mike Dunleavy added 23 for the Bucks. Monta Ellis, one of Milwaukee’s top scorers, finished with 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting. Milwaukee lost its third straight and is running out of time to catch Philadelphia for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.



In Auburn Hills, Mich., Nikola Pekovic scored 23 points and Anthony Randolph added 15 as Minnesota cruised past Detroit.

Pekovic hit 10 of 17 shots from the field.


MAGIC: Center Dwight Howard will undergo back surgery this morning in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disk, effectively ending his season and eliminating him from participation in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Howard’s agent said Thursday night.

“It hurts (emotionally),” Howard told ESPN.com. “That’s the first thing – it hurts. And then with people saying and thinking I’m quitting on my team. This is a real issue. I tried to play through it and it just made my back worse.”



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