Smith turns up the Heat from beyond the arc in win
MIAMI – J.R. Smith made a career-best eight 3-pointers and scored 28 points, Kenyon Martin added 24, and the Denver Nuggets edged the Miami Heat 114-113 in overtime Tuesday night.Carmelo Anthony scored six of his 22 points in overtime for Denver, which has won three straight.Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 29 points, but missed a 22-footer at the buzzer for Miami – which has lost eight straight and 23 of its last 24 games.Wade – who also had 10 assists – made a 3-pointer with 2:36 left in overtime to tie the game at 110, then dove over the first row of seats in a futile effort to grab a loose ball a minute later. On that possession, Anthony Carter made two free throws, putting the Nuggets up by two with 1:26 left.Anthony added two more free throws with 54.1 seconds to play, and Ricky Davis’ 3-pointer with 33.6 seconds left got Miami within a point. Anthony missed with about 10 seconds remaining, Miami controlled the rebound and Wade dribbled up the left side of the floor to one of his favorite spots.But the shot rimmed out, and Miami left frustrated once again.”I know it’s been a tough year,” Wade told fans before the game, as he thanked them for helping vote him onto the Eastern Conference All-Star team. “But it won’t last forever.”It only seems that way.Shawn Marion scored 23 points and added a Heat season-best 18 rebounds. Dorell Wright scored 19 points and Mark Blount finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds.Allen Iverson scored 16 points on 5-for-20 shooting for Denver, and Marcus Camby ended up with 12 points and 16 rebounds.Neither team led by more than four points at any time in the last 16:18 of the game.Smith scored a career-high 37 points against the Heat on Dec. 8, 2006, and did similar damage to Miami on Tuesday.He sparked a big Denver run from a 14-point deficit in the first half, and in the fourth quarter, he simply torched Miami with four 3-pointers in the first 5:07 of the final period – answering Miami baskets with three of those long jumpers.But despite Smith’s best efforts, the game remained close throughout the fourth, with neither team ever leading by more than four. Iverson’s jumper with 1:41 remaining gave the Nuggets a 102-98 edge, before Wade’s layup cut the lead in half and Blount’s jumper from the left baseline with 17.5 seconds left tied it.Wright blocked Iverson’s potential game-winner with 0.4 seconds left, sending the game to overtime.Wright, who didn’t attempt a 3-pointer in 22 games between Dec. 15 and Feb. 7 – was 2-for-2 from beyond the arc in the first quarter, helping stake Miami to a 32-23 lead.When Marion took a nifty bounce pass in the lane from former Phoenix teammate Marcus Banks and dunked with 8:17 left in the half, the Heat led 42-28 – their biggest edge in any game since leading Utah by 16 points on Dec. 22.But of course, in this Miami season, prosperity didn’t last.Denver scored the next 10 points, sparked by Smith. He scored 13 points in a 4-minute span after Marion’s dunk, and the Nuggets were within 63-57 after a wild half where Miami shot 61 percent from the floor and held a 22-14 rebounding edge, yet still couldn’t pull away.And in the third quarter, the Heat got caught.Iverson missed 11 of his first 13 shots before driving for an acrobatic layup while getting fouled with 3:21 left in the third, pulling Denver within 76-72. It was part of a 15-2 period-ending run by the Nuggets, who took their first lead since the opening minutes when Iverson made a six-footer with 1:51 left, and wound up extending the cushion to 84-78 entering the fourth.Notes: Smith became the third player to hit eight 3-pointers against Miami. … The first four field goals of the second quarter were dunks, two by each team. … Marion now has the most rebounds by a Heat player this season – and by a Heat opponent. He grabbed 24 when Phoenix visited Miami on Nov. 9. … Kevin Willis, in 1994, was the only other Miami player to open his Heat career with consecutive double-doubles.
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