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Riley Sounds Alarmed After Heat Loses Again

April 10, 2006|From the Associated Press

The team built to win a championship is slumping as the postseason looms. And the club that once had little playoff hope is thriving.

Jameer Nelson scored 26 points and the Orlando Magic won for the eighth time in its last nine games, beating Miami, 93-84, on Sunday night and handing the Heat its first two-game home losing streak of the season.

Orlando moved within three games of Chicago and Philadelphia for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot. The Heat got 27 points from Dwyane Wade and 16 points and nine rebounds from Shaquille O'Neal, but lost for the sixth time in 11 games.

Heat Coach Pat Riley blamed himself, saying he made the wrong substitutions, called the wrong plays, didn't inspire his team -- and, perhaps most significant, said he started the wrong lineup.

"It's almost a crossroads for me right now, to find the competitive warriors and the competitiveness of those guys will transcend the talent and reputation," Riley said. "I'm going to try to find the guys who are going to try to play the hardest and best in support of our two great players."

Sacramento 86, Houston 77 -- Brad Miller had 30 points and 11 rebounds at Sacramento and the Kings won their third in a row to reduce their magic number to clinch a playoff berth to three.

Juwan Howard scored 22 points for Houston.

New Jersey 95, Milwaukee 83 -- Vince Carter scored 25 points and Jason Kidd added 11 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to help the host Nets beat the Bucks in a potential first-round playoff preview.

T.J. Ford had 19 points for the Bucks, who lost their fourth straight and fell three games below .500 for the first time this season.

Detroit 98, Indiana 73 -- Tayshaun Prince scored all 17 of his points in the second half to lead six double-digit scorers in the host Pistons' victory.

Stephen Jackson had 15 points for Indiana, which has lost seven of eight to fall to a season-worst four games under .500.

Ben Wallace had a season-high 22 rebounds for the Pistons in his first game since refusing to re-enter Friday's loss at Orlando in the fourth quarter. Wallace was reluctant to talk about it, other than to say he didn't regret it.

San Antonio 83, Memphis 81 -- Pau Gasol missed a potential tying layup over Tim Duncan with 5.9 seconds left in the Grizzlies' loss at San Antonio. Duncan had 23 points and 12 rebounds to help the Spurs, who ended a two-game home losing streak. Jake Tsakalidis had 15 points for Memphis.

Seattle 116, Phoenix 114 -- Ray Allen had 23 of his 30 points in the second half and his three-pointer with 24 seconds left lifted the SuperSonics at Seattle. Phoenix, however, clinched the Pacific Division title despite the loss because of the Clippers' loss to the Lakers. Raja Bell scored 23 for the Suns.

Minnesota 84, Atlanta 83 -- Trenton Hassell made a jump shot with 1.9 seconds left to lift the host Timberwolves. Minnesota were without Kevin Garnett, whose NBA-leading, consecutive-games streak ended at 351 because of tendinitis in his right knee. Rashad McCants scored a career-high 28 points for Minnesota.

Charlotte 94, Toronto 88 -- Brevin Knight had 19 points and 10 assists to help the Bobcats end a seven-game road losing streak. Mike James scored 32 for the Raptors, who have lost eight in a row.

New York 101, Boston 86 -- Jamal Crawford had 31 points at Boston to help the Knicks win their third in a row. Paul Pierce led Boston with 19 points but scored one point in the final quarter.


Denver Nugget rookie guard Julius Hodge was released from a Denver hospital, one day after shots fired into his car on a Colorado highway wounded his legs. Investigators said they had no suspects and did not have a motive.

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