Lawson helps Nuggets beat Heat on return

Denver: Denver's Ty Lawson returned from a sprained right foot to score 24 points and lead the Nuggets to a 117-104 win over Miami on Friday, handing the Heat their third straight NBA loss.

Lawson, who was held out of Wednesday's game against New Jersey, also had nine assists. Nene added 17 points for Denver.

LeBron James had 35 points for the Heat, who have lost their past 10 games in Denver.

Dwyane Wade scored 12 points for Miami before landing awkwardly on his right ankle after trying to block a shot with 7:24 remaining. He was benched immediately and did not return.

BULLS 88, CELTICS 79

In Boston, Derrick Rose returned from injury to score 25 points and help Chicagos hold off a second-half Boston charge.

Ty Lawson

Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson (3) leans away from Miami Heat center Dexter Pittman in the second quarter of their NBA game on Friday. Joe Mahoney/AP

The Celtics had trimmed a 52-33 halftime deficit to 67-66 with 10 minutes left in the game. Then Boston missed its next two shots, while Rose scored four straight points. Kevin Garnett responded with a short jumper, but Rose came through again with a 3-pointer for a decisive 74-68 lead with 7:30 remaining.

Rose, who missed Wednesday's win over Washington with a sprained toe, scored 12 points after Boston had cut the lead to one.

Ray Allen scored 16 for Boston.

SPURS 99, TRAIL BLAZERS 83

In San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 20 points to help San Antonio beat Portland and stay unbeaten at home.

Parker shook off a slow start as the Spurs improved to 8-0 at home, their best start since the 2007-08 season when they started 13-0.

Tiago Splitter scored 14 points for the Spurs.

LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 29 points. The Blazers lost veteran center Marcus Camby to a sprained ankle.

LAKERS 97, CAVALIERS 92

In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 42 points in his third straight 40-point performance as Los Angeles blew a big early lead before hanging on for their fifth straight victory, edging Cleveland.

Pau Gasol had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who won their eighth consecutive game at Staples Center since Christmas. Until Bryant took charge, Los Angeles allowed a 19-point lead to dwindle to three in the final minutes of coach Mike Brown's first meeting with the Cavaliers since they fired him in 2010.

Bryant managed just seven points in the fourth quarter but hit two big late jumpers, giving him three straight 40-point games for the first time since 2006-07, when he had five straight. He is third in NBA history with 110 40-point games, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.

Kyrie Irving scored 21 points for the Cavaliers.

PACERS 95, RAPTORS 90

In Toronto, Tyler Hansbrough made two key free throws with less than 15 seconds to play as Indiana overcame the ejection of leading scorer Danny Granger to beat Toronto.

George Hill scored a season-high 22 points for the Pacers, who have made a promising start to the young season.

DeMar DeRozan had 23 points for the Raptors, who have lost three straight.

MAVERICKS 102, BUCKS 76

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki supassed 23,000 career points as Dallas cruised past Milwaukee to its fourth straight win.

Vince Carter had his highest-scoring game in Dallas, picking up 11 of his 16 points in the opening 6-1/2 minutes of the game.

Jason Terry scored 17 points for the defending NBA champion Mavericks, who are finally on a roll after an 0-3 start.

Brandon Jennings had 19 points for the Bucks, who are undefeated at home but now have an NBA-worst seven road losses. Milwaukee was without Andrew Bogut, who was out because of concussion-like symptoms.

76ERS 120, WIZARDS 89

In Philadelphia, Jodie Meeks tied a career high with 26 points as Philadelphia had a comfortable win over Washington.

Lou Williams had 19 for the Sixers, who led by 34 points in the third quarter and crushed the NBA-worst Wizards. All five starters reached double-digit scoring for the Atlantic Division leaders, who improved to 5-0 at home.

While the Sixers dominated the entire game, the real damage was done in the third quarter. They made 16 of 23 shots from the floor and outscored the Wizards by 20.

ROCKETS 103, KINGS 89

In Houston, Kyle Lowry's 25 points led five double-digit scorers that drove Houston past Sacramento.

The Kings led at halftime, but Houston used a strong third quarter to take the lead and Sacramento never really threatened after that.

Former King Samuel Dalembert added 21 points and 16 rebounds for the Rockets.

Tyreke Evans scored 27 points for Sacramento. He has scored at least 25 points in four of the past five games.

TIMBERWOLVES 87, HORNETS 80

In New Orleans, Kevin Love scored 34 points to lead Minnesota to victory over New Orleans.

Love had 17 points in the third quarter and also grabbed 15 rebounds for his 11th consecutive double-double. The Timberwolves finished 33 of 38 from the foul line and Love sank his first 17 before missing one in the last minute.

Ricky Rubio hit the tiebreaking free throws in his first career start, and finished with 12 points and nine assists.

Marco Belinelli scored a season-high 20 points for the Hornets, who rallied from a 14-point deficit to the tie the score three times in the fourth quarter before losing their fifth in a row at home.

NETS 110, SUNS 103

In Phoenix, Deron Williams had 35 points, his most since coming to New Jersey, and 14 assists as the Nets held off undermanned Phoenix.

Williams tied a career high with six 3-pointers and MarShon Brooks scored 20 for the Nets, who snapped a three-game skid.

The Suns, playing without Steve Nash and Grant Hill because of injuries, were down by three at the half before the Nets pulled away with a barrage of 3-pointers. A rally in the final minutes by the Suns fell short.

Ronnie Price scored a career high 18 in Phoenix's third loss in a row.

PISTONS 98, BOBCATS 81

In Charlotte, Jonas Jerebko tied a career high with 22 points as Detroit won the race to three victories against Charlotte.

Both teams entered the game with identical 2-9 records and on lengthy losing streaks: the Bobcats having lost five straight and the Pistons six in a row.

The Pistons were able to snap their skid due to the inside play of Jerebko and Greg Monroe, who chipped in with 19 points and nine rebounds. The Pistons dominated inside, scoring 50 points in the key through the first three quarters to open a 78-59 lead.

Byron Mullens led Charlotte with 18 points, the eighth time in 10 games he's reached double digits.

AP