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LeBron helps Heat take 2nd from Celtics

LeBron James scored 27 points, Dwyane Wade 14 and the host Miami Heat moved closer to the No. 2 seed in the East playoffs Sunday by beating the sliding Celtics, 100-77.

"It was a playoff-atmosphere type of game, from the fans to both teams' approach to what the game meant," Wade said. "It had that feel."

Miami moved a game ahead of Boston, trimming its magic number to clinch the second seed to two. The teams will finish second and third in some order behind Chicago in the East, slotted to play in the conference semifinals.

"We'd like to play them, I can tell you that," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "And we may have to if we want to go somewhere."

Their finish directly affects which team will face the Knicks.

Chris Bosh had 13 points and eight rebounds for Miami, which had been 0-3 against Boston this season, though Heat coach Erik Spoelstra cautioned against overstating the win's importance.

"We proved we can beat them tonight," Spoelstra said. "That's about it, in my mind."

Paul Pierce scored 24 points and Kevin Garnett 21 for Boston, which lost for the 10th time in its last 19 games. The Celtics were outrebounded 42-26, and outscored 44-26 in the paint.

"What else do you expect? It's Boston-Miami," Garnett said. "Supposedly it's two of, if not the top two, teams in the East. You have to expect that."

The Heat finally solved the Boston hex, beating the Celtics for the third time in the last 21 meetings. Bosh had been 1-13 against Boston since March 2007, and the Celtics ended both the 2009-10 seasons for Wade (in the first round) and James (in the second round).

Miami won for the 13th time in its last 16 games, and its bench -- maligned for much of the season -- outscored Boston's 32-12.

Bulls 102, Magic 99

Derrick Rose had 39 points and five assists and Luol Deng 15 points to help the Chicago Bulls hold off the host Orlando Magic. Orlando's Jameer Nelson appeared to tie it with a three-pointer at the buzzer, but an official review upheld an initial call of no basket. Ryan Anderson led the Magic with a career-high 28 points, Jason Richardson had 24 and Nelson 17. Chicago won its seventh in a row and 19th in 21 games. The Bulls also kept alive their chances of finishing with the NBA's best record, which would give them home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

-- AP

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