Saturday, 14 January 2012

Miami Heat (8-3) at Denver Nuggets (7-4), 10:30 p.m. (ET)

Consecutive overtime losses have the Miami Heat reeling for the first time this season.

LeBron James and Company will try to right the ship in the Rockies on Friday when the star-studded Heat finish a five-game road trip against the high- scoring Denver Nuggets.

Miami won the first two legs of its trek in Atlanta and New Jersey before hitting the skids on the West Coast, losing in OT on consecutive days to Golden State and the LA Clippers.

The latest setback came on Wednesday when Chris Paul scored 27 points and dished out 11 assists as the Clips took down the Heat, 95-89, at Staples Center. James paced Miami with 23 points and 13 rebounds, but missed several free throws in the final minute of regulation that would have either tied the game or put the Heat ahead.

Mario Chalmers had 18 points, Dwyane Wade scored 17 and Chris Bosh notched 16 with 11 boards for Miami.

"The Clippers made shots down the end and we couldn't close the door," Miami head coach Eric Spoelstra said. "That was great, compelling playoff basketball early in the season."

The Nuggets, meanwhile, snapped a two-game skid on Wednesday when Danilo Gallinari led six teammates in double-figures with 22 points as Denver cut down the New Jersey Nets, 123-115, at Pepsi Center.

Arron Afflalo and Corey Brewer netted 19 points and Rudy Fernandez finished with 15 points to go with eight assists and four steals for the Nuggets, who bounced back nicely after dropping the opener of a four-game homestand against the New Orleans Hornets on Monday.

Al Harrington contributed 13 and Andre Miller had 12 points and 12 assists for Denver, which recorded an NBA season-high 37 helpers despite being without starting point guard Ty Lawson, who missed the contest with a strained right foot.

"You'd rather see your team be unselfish to a fault, to a problem, than the other way," Nuggets head coach George Karl said of his team's unselfish play. "Most NBA teams have the other problem on their team. I can live with that."

Lawson hopes to play tonight as does Gallinari, who sprained an ankle against New Jersey.

Denver, which is 5-1 at home, will finish its residency against Utah on Sunday.

Miami has lost 10 of 12 against the Nuggets and leads the NBA in scoring at 106.4 points per game, with Denver on its heels at second with 103.6 ppg.

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