Heat roll past Suns; Bogans makes surprise start for Nets
LeBron James had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 22 points and the Miami Heat beat the visiting Phoenix Suns 124-99 on Monday night.
Chris Bosh finished with 18 points and Ray Allen had 15 for Miami (3-1), which is averaging 111.8 points to open the season. Allen became the 24th player in NBA history to eclipse the 23,000-point mark when he made a free throw with 1:01 left in the third quarter.
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The Heat put the game away with a 23-6 run in the third, a spurt fueled by 10 points from James and five three-pointers in a span of less than 5 minutes.
■ Rookie guard Alexey Shved and Chase Budinger led a furious rally from 22 points down, and the Minnesota Timberwolves came back stun the host Brooklyn Nets 107-96.
Former Kentucky standout Keith Bogans started in place of an injured Gerald Wallace for the Nets. Bogans had was 3-for-5 from three-point range and finished with nine points and two rebounds in 14 minutes.
■ Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points and JR Smith had 17 to lead the New York Knicks to a 110-88 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
■ The NBA issued flopping warnings to Minnesota's JJ Barea and Cleveland's Donald Sloan on Monday, the first two under a new policy designed to end the act.
Barea threw his upper body backward after contact while defending Sacramento's Jimmer Fredette in the fourth quarter on Friday. Sloan tumbled wildly to the court a few feet from contact after a pick set against him by Chicago's Nazr Mohammed on Friday.
The NBA announced a new policy in pre-season to stop the act of players dramatically overselling contact in hopes of tricking referees into calling fouls. League officials review plays and inform players if something they did falls under the league's definition of a flop, which is "any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player."
The second offense comes with a $5,000 fine, followed by $10,000 for a third, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 for a fifth. Additional flops after that could lead to a suspension.
'Boring' races hurting TV ratings
Brad Keselowski held off Kyle Busch on one late restart, and Jimmie Johnson on another. Doing it a third time was just too much to ask during a tense closing sequence at Texas Motor Speedway.
It was Johnson who won that final frantic battle to the finish line, holding steady as Keselowski slammed into the side of his car. Keselowski took it all the way to the edge — refusing, though, to cross a line and wreck the competition — and Johnson never blinked.
The five-time champion nudged ahead, got some separation and pulled away for the win. Johnson now holds a seven-point lead over Keselowski in the standings with two races remaining in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Those three restarts over the closing 19 laps on Sunday will go down as some of the most memorable racing of the Chase. It also saved a race that would have been memorable for being largely forgettable up to that point. It took over three hours Sunday to get to the good stuff, and it's clearly not cutting it with fans. ESPN drew a 2.5 overnight rating, down 11 percent from a 2.8 in 2011.
Texas Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith alluded to the issues this weekend, when he said NASCAR needs to work at "making the racing more exciting."
"I think we can do better and we need to work at it diligently and make what we bring to the public better," said Smith, who suggested slowing the cars by 10-15 mph to increase rubbing between competitors, and smaller fuel tanks to force more frequent pit stops.
Because, Smith said, races with long green-flag runs that are decided by fuel mileage are "boring, boring, boring."
"I knew I wasn't going to be able to execute every restart and Jimmie did a great job on the last one," Keselowski said after the race. "I had to choose between wrecking him and winning the race and it didn't seem right to wreck him."
It wouldn't have been right, but it sure would have been controversial, and that's something else Smith had called for more of the day before Sunday's race. The track owner argued today's drivers lack the "mean streak" of NASCAR's blue-collar pioneers, and said interest in the sport would spike with more off-track contact.
"It would add a great deal to what we do, and we would have more drama if maybe some driver got out at the end of the race and hit somebody," said Smith, who also owns Kentucky Speedway. "I think that's what's missing. We used to have a lot of that."
Top-5 recruit switches to class of 2013
Five-star center Dakari Johnson has joined the class of 2013, according to a report by Future 150. Johnson, who played for Sayre High School as an eighth-grader, was rated by ESPN as the No. 3 overall junior in the country. Rivals and Scout rated him as the No. 5 junior in the country.
Johnson will likely be the top-rated center in the class of 2013 once those rankings are updated.
The 6-foot-10, 250-pounder is a native of New York City but is currently playing at Montverde Academy in Florida. Montverde is coached by Kevin Boyle, who also coached Johnson and former UK star Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at St. Patrick High in New Jersey.
Johnson has made recent visits to Florida and Syracuse, and Georgetown, Ohio State, Kansas and North Carolina are among others recruiting him. He does not have a scholarship offer from Kentucky, but the Cats are without a center for their epic 2013 class. UK also isn't actively recruiting any uncommitted centers from that class.
Murray's Canaan scores 19 in exhibition
Isaiah Canaan had 19 points, five assists and four rebounds to lead Murray State to an 87-74 victory over visiting Freed-Hardeman in Monday night's exhibition game. Jeffery Moss and Stacy Wilson added 16 points each for Murray State. Ed Daniel pulled down a game-high seven rebounds for Murray State. The Racers finished with a program-best 31-2 record en route to winning the Ohio Valley Conference last season.
ESPN radio announcer Durham dies
ESPN radio announcer Jim Durham, who called NBA games for the network, died. He was 65. ESPN said Monday that Durham died over the weekend at his home in Tomball, Texas. A cause of death was not announced.
In 2011, Durham received the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for his contributions to the sport.
Durham was the lead play-by-play commentator for NBA games on ESPN Radio since its inception in 1996. His last assignment for ESPN was Tuesday's season opener between Boston and Miami. A Chicago native, Durham called Bulls games during Michael Jordan's first seven seasons. He also served as a broadcaster for the Dallas Mavericks, Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros.
■ Jim Flick, a golf instructor for more than 50 years whose clients included Tom Lehman and Jack Nicklaus upon joining the Champions Tour, died Monday of pancreatic cancer, his family said. He was 82. Flick taught golf in 23 countries and directed programs such as Golf Digest's Schools and ESPN Golf Schools.
The last word
Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams said he plans to evaluate everyone from the front office to the coaches to the players over the final seven games after the team lost 51-20 to Chicago, the most points allowed since a 59-0 loss to New England in 2009. Adams said:
"In my 50 years of owning an NFL franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular-season home game that was such a disappointment for myself and fans of the Titans. We were grossly outcoached and outplayed from start to finish."