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Shorthanded Knicks sent home by Heat; Heat's James scores 29 in decisive win

MIAMI -- The final horn sounded, and LeBron James wrapped his arms around Carmelo Anthony in a warm embrace.

Their head-to-head scoring matchup in this series was even, 139 points apiece.

Just about everything else tipped Miami's way -- so the Heat are moving on and the New York Knicks are going home.

James had 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade both scored 19 points and the Heat ousted the shorthanded Knicks 106-94 in Game Five of the Eastern Conference first-round series Wednesday night.

The Heat won the series 4-1, and will meet Indiana in the East semifinals starting Sunday in Miami.

"We do not take this for granted," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "This was a tough series. We feel very good about moving on and it'll only get tougher from here."

For the Heat, it was only the first step. The reigning East champions have one goal -- getting back to the finals and winning it all -- and most likely that was why even beating the franchise's longtime rival prompted, at most, a subdued celebration.

"We will savor this win tonight," James said. "Then we get to work [today] and get ready for Indiana."

Anthony scored 35 points for the Knicks, including a spinning jumper over James at the end of the third quarter that pulled New York within 81-67. It was far from being enough to stave off an all-too-familiar playoff result for Anthony, part of that 2003 draft class that also yielded James, Bosh and Wade.

Anthony has played 54 postseason games, being part of wins only 17 times. A misleading stat for certain -- it's hardly all on him -- and no shortage of people in the Heat organization interrupted their celebrating of a series-clincher to tip their caps Anthony's way afterward.

"We fought, under the circumstances," Anthony said. "I'm not one to make any excuses for anything. But Miami, they're a tough defensive team. They stick to what their schemes are."

James shot 48 percent from the field in the series, Anthony shot 42 percent. James averaged 6.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists, Anthony averaged 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

"It was fun, man," James said. "He's one of the most competitive players I've ever played against in a playoff series."

Amare Stoudemire scored 14 points, Landry Fields and J.R. Smith both added 12, Mike Bibby had 10 and Tyson Chandler grabbed 11 rebounds for New York, which is 1-8 in playoff games with Anthony and Stoudemire as teammates.


Grizzlies stay alive

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Marc Gasol scored 23 points and Zach Randolph added 19 as the Memphis Grizzlies avoided elimination by beating the Los Angeles Clippers, 92-80, forcing a Game Six in the Western Conference first-round series.

Game Six is Friday night in Los Angeles. If the Grizzlies can win, Game Seven would be Sunday back in Memphis.

Mo Williams had 20 points for the Clippers while Chris Paul scored 19 and Blake Griffin had 15 points and 11 rebounds.


Today's games

*The Denver Nuggets have crept back into their series with the Los Angeles Lakers by outrunning and outgunning their older opponents. The Nuggets will try to run them ragged again tonight in Game Six (10:30 p.m., TNT) back in Denver, where the mile-high altitude can be a big fatigue factor for an older team like the Lakers.

*The Celtics have another chance to close out the Hawks in Boston (8 p.m., TNT). Game Seven would be in Atlanta on Saturday.

*The Philadelphia 76ers are trying to become the fifth No. 8 seed to win a first-round series against a No. 1 seed, in this case Chicago.

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