Heat Hang On to Top Celtics After Nearly Losing 20-Point Lead

Dwyane Wade finished with 24 points and 8 assists for Miami, which got 18 points from Chris Bosh and twice saw its lead cut to 3 in the final minutes. Cole delivered the answer both times with a pair of jump shots, and the Heat escaped.

Ray Allen scored 28 points on 8-for-12 shooting for the Celtics, while Rajon Rondo finished with 22 points and 12 assists and Keyon Dooling scored 18 off the Boston bench.

Through two games, Miami (2-0) has trailed only once — by 2 points, for all of 14 seconds. The loss was Boston’s second straight, after falling in the season opener to the Knicks, 106-104, on Sunday.

Cole’s jumper with 3 minutes 1 second left gave Miami a 108-98 lead, most of which disappeared in the next 59 seconds, thanks to Dooling — a former Heat guard. He scored 7 straight points, including a 3-pointer with 2:02 remaining, cutting the Heat’s lead to 3. And when Boston got a stop on the next Miami trip, the Celtics looked for Dooling again.

But Wade stepped in front of a pass intended for Dooling, starting a play where James found Cole for another jumper, and Miami’s cushion was back to 110-105 with 1:31 to play.

And with a minute left, it was Cole again, with the biggest shot of the night for Miami. James set him up from the top of the key for another jumper, restoring the 5-point edge. When Cole stepped to the foul line to close the scoring, he got “M-V-P” chants from the Miami crowd, something typically reserved for the likes of Wade, James and Bosh.

Boston was again without forward Paul Pierce (bruised right heel), who worked out Monday and Tuesday and is getting closer to a return. BUCKS 98, TIMBERWOLVES 95 The rookie Jon Leuer converted a 3-point play with 1:17 left, helping Milwaukee hold off Minnesota and give the Bucks a victory in their home opener.

Brandon Jennings scored 24 points and Stephen Jackson added 16 for the Bucks, who were playing without forward Drew Gooden because of a suspension and several other key players because of injuries. Gooden was suspended for Tuesday’s game for his flagrant foul in the season opener, when he was ejected in the third quarter Monday for slamming the Houston Rockets’ Gerald Henderson on the head with his arm as he attempted a driving layup.

Kevin Love had 31 points and 20 rebounds for the Timberwolves, whose late rally came up just short.

Minnesota was without Coach Rick Adelman, who was attending funeral services for his mother-in-law. Assistant Terry Porter, a former head coach in Milwaukee, filled in for Adelman.

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Stiemsma Scores Winner, Celtics Top Raptors 76-75

Ray Allen scored 12 points for the Celtics, while Kevin Garnett had nine points and seven rebounds. Marquis Daniels had 11 points for Boston.

Andrea Bargnani led Toronto with 16 points, DeMar DeRozan scored 14 points and Ed Davis had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Boston’s Rajon Rondo, who had been bothered by a sore right ankle, started for the Celtics and finished with a team-high eight assists in 28 minutes.

The Raptors trailed 61-51 to start the fourth but rallied after Allen and Garnett headed to the bench. Jose Calderon’s 3-pointer made it 70-67 with 4:30 left and, after a missed shot by Brandon Bass, DeRozan’s layup cut it to one at 70-69.

Consecutive jump shots by Celtics rookie E’Twaun Moore gave Boston a 74-71 lead with 1:19 remaining, but a jumper by Bargnani and a tip-in by Amir Johnson with 26 seconds left made it 75-74 in favor of Toronto.

Stiemsma rebounded Moore’s miss and, after failing to score his first attempt, tipped in the go-ahead basket on his second chance.

Bargnani tried to put back DeRozan’s miss at the buzzer but his shot didn’t fall.

Allen scored seven points in the second as the Celtics took a 40-33 lead at the half.

Toronto outrebounded Boston 39 to 35.

Boston was without forward Paul Pierce, sidelined by a bruised right heel, while Toronto guard Anthony Carter was absent with a sore right shoulder.

The teams meet again in Boston on Wednesday night.

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Amar’e Stoudemire Makes Impressive Home Debut

Wednesday night was a warm-up, a friendly first date between Stoudemire and his adoring new audience at Madison Square Garden. It was a promising start to the relationship between the desperate fan base and the $100 million star.

Stoudemire, who with a big contract and a big proclamation, began fulfilling his vow. He dunked a little, preened a little and smiled a lot, scoring 30 points in his Garden debut, as the , in a preseason game.

It was Stoudemire’s third game in a uniform, but his first in New York. Stoudemire said he was not trying to put on a show — “just playing hard, trying to win” — but he could sense the anticipation in the building, most of it directed at him.

“They’re waiting for a good product on the basketball court,” he said, “and I think so far, so good.”

The crowd roared at his introduction and eagerly anticipated his every move. It took awhile for him to deliver.

His first pass was a turnover, and his first shot was an errant 18-footer. But the crowd swooned as Stoudemire drove hard for an early dunk attempt, and the disappointment was palpable when he was instead fouled at the rim. His first field goal was a jumper. His first dunk did not come until late in the second quarter, on a nifty bounce pass in the lane from Wilson Chandler.

Stoudemire turned on the star power in the third quarter, when he scored 16 points on jump shots and driving layups, drawing fouls on seemingly every close attempt. He finished with an impressive line: 9 for 13 from the field and 12 for 15 from the free-throw line.

Timofey Mozgov made his first start and continued his bid to become the Knicks’ first-string center. He played just 16 minutes but was energetic early on and finished with 5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, an assist and 4 fouls.

Stoudemire owned the evening. The referees owned the second quarter.

In a vivid display of the league’s new crackdown on whining, officials handed out four technical fouls in 16 seconds and ejected the ’ . drew the first technical, for yapping at the referee Zach Zarba. Garnett then complained to Kane Fitzgerald, who called two consecutive technicals — an automatic ejection — when Garnett refused to stop. Garnett laughed in disbelief before leaving the court.

Moments later, Mozgov picked up a technical for saying something to the referee Kevin Fehr. Considering Mozgov’s limited English, it was not clear what he might have done to earn the call.

“It was Russian language,” Mozgov said. “I don’t know why technical foul.”

Otherwise, Mozgov enjoyed his debut. He scored the Knicks’ first 4 points on a pair of midrange jumpers, assisted Raymond Felton on a backdoor layup and broke up an alley-oop lob to O’Neal.

Mozgov surely avoided a more bruising N.B.A. introduction when the Celtics’ other O’Neal (Shaquille) decided to rest his sore right hip — “my arthritic, 28,000-point-scoring hip,” as he called it. O’Neal is likely to play when the Knicks and Celtics .

Stoudemire may play sparingly over the Knicks’ next four preseason games, in deference to his surgically repaired knee and to his experience. The Knicks play back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday and another set on Tuesday and Wednesday. He could skip a game in each set, or just play a quarter.

“We don’t want to grind him in the dirt,” Coach said. “He’s in great shape, and we’re just trying to be cautious.”

Stoudemire has been durable since having microfracture knee surgery in 2005. But his contract is uninsurable, and the Knicks are taking no chances. They held him out of the world championships over the summer.

Much of the Knicks’ rotation remains in flux with five exhibition games left to play. Mozgov has the edge at center, but D’Antoni could still use Stoudemire there, as he did to open the second half Wednesday.

The Knicks are still waiting for breakout performances from three critical players: Danilo Gallinari, Chandler and Felton. Gallinari again struggled with his shot, going 2 for 8 from the field and finishing with 11 points. Chandler was merely steady, finishing with 13 points and 5 rebounds. Felton, the new point guard, missed 8 of 11 attempts and finished with 7 points and 6 assists.

Asked what he hoped to see by Oct. 22, when the Knicks close out the preseason against the , D’Antoni said, “Hopefully, a better team.”

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