Heat top Pacers in second showdown between East's best
Dwyane Wade scored 32 points, Ray Allen hit a go-ahead three-pointer with just under a minute left and the Miami Heat erased a 15-point deficit in the second half to beat the visiting Indiana Pacers 97-94 on Wednesday night.
LeBron James scored 24 on a bad left ankle for the Heat, who closed within a game of the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers. Chris Bosh added 15 points for Miami, including a three that tied it late in the fourth.
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James set up Allen for the three that put Miami in front for good with 59.5 seconds left, capping a 10-0 run.
Paul George scored 25 points but missed a three that would have tied it with four seconds left. David West had 23 and Lance Stephenson added 13 for the Pacers, who have dropped two straight.
The game was the second between the two teams currently at the top of the Eastern Conference in as many weeks. Indiana defeated Miami 90-84 in Indianapolis on Tuesday, Dec. 10. The teams will not meet again in the regular season until March 26, with their final regular-season meeting coming on April 11.
■ John Wall led seven Wizards in double-figure scoring with 21 points and had six assists to get Washington past host Brooklyn 113-107. Paul Pierce had 27 points off the bench to lead the Nets.
■ Kyle Korver went 8-for-10 from behind the arc for 28 points to propel Atlanta over visiting Sacramento, 124-107. DeMarcus Cousins equaled Korver's 28 points for the Kings, and had six assists and seven rebounds.
■ Brandon Jennings' 28 points and 14 assists were just enough to get Detroit past Boston, 107-106. Ex-Cat Josh Harrellson had two points, two rebounds and two steals for the Pistons.
■ Anthony Davis was expected to come off the bench in the Pelicans' game against the Clippers late Wednesday night. Davis had missed the team's seven previous games with a broken hand and was originally expected to miss four to six weeks.
League is ready for Super Bowl snow
Standing amid giant piles of snow in the shadow of MetLife Stadium, Super Bowl organizers said Wednesday that they're prepared to deploy thousands of trucks and tons of salt to prevent snowy weather from interfering with the biggest football game of the year.
Officials held the news conference to assure the public that snow or ice will not hinder the game on Feb. 2, when it will debut as the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl in NFL history.
The stadium has several snow melters on hand that can clear the fields quickly, including one machine that can melt up to 600 tons of snow per hour, said the stadium's CEO, Brad Mayne. Removable snow chutes can funnel snow out of the seating and concourse areas, he said.
Mayne pointed to the most recent storm to hit the region last week, which dropped 6.3 inches of snow and ice on the stadium just hours before the New York Giants played host to the Seattle Seahawks.
"Even though the storm ended just hours prior to kickoff, our experienced crew was able to have the stadium ready," Mayne said.
The stadium plans to have up to 1,600 workers on standby for the Super Bowl, which is double the typical amount of personnel used in most storms.
Officials said they would only consider rescheduling the game in extreme circumstances.
"It is our objective to kick off the ball at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 2," said Frank Supovitz, Senior Vice President of Events for the NFL. "And we're going to expend every effort ... to make sure that that gets done."
■ Matt Schaub will start at quarterback on Sunday for Houston against Denver and interim coach Wade Phillips expects him to receive a better reception than he did the last time he played at Reliant Stadium. Schaub will start for an injured Case Keenum and try to help the Texans end a 12-game skid. Schaub's last action in Houston came when he took over late in a game against Oakland on Nov. 17 as Keenum was struggling. The home crowd booed him so loudly when he entered the game that the offense was forced to use a silent count.
Astros' spending gets union's attention
While the New York Yankees set another salary record, the Houston Astros had the lowest average in the major leagues in 14 years and the attention of the players' union.
The overall big-league average rose 5.4 percent this season to a record $3.39 million, according to the annual report released Wednesday by the Major League Baseball Players Association. The increase was the steepest since 2006.
The Yankees had the highest average for the 15th consecutive season at $8.17 million, breaking the mark of $7.66 million when they won the World Series in 2009. The Los Angeles Dodgers were second at $7.82 million.
Houston's average of $549,603 was the smallest since the 1999 Kansas City Royals at $534,460. The Miami Marlins were 29th at $830,069, down from $3.77 million in 2012, when they ranked 10th.
Baseball's collective bargaining agreement requires a team to use revenue-sharing money it receives "in an effort to improve its performance on the field." The Marlins had been required to raise player payroll annually from 2010-12 under an agreement between MLB and the union.
However, the issue is being dealt with under a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that gradually eliminates the 15 teams in the largest markets from receiving revenue sharing, and the Astros are 15th. Under that provision, those clubs forfeited 25 percent of the money this year, half in 2014, 75 percent the following year and all in 2016.
"We are watching both clubs closely, but were already aware what their 2013 spending would be and that there wasn't enough there to move beyond acknowledging as much," new union head Tony Clark said in an email to The Associated Press. "With Houston a big factor is their impending 'market disqualification.' For Miami, they actually have a long-range plan that suggests they will make the considerations necessary to be compliant.
"That said, both clubs are being monitored, and MLB recognizes that there is a potential for a dispute if the clubs do not move in the right direction."
UK recruit Lyles plays Thursday on ESPN
University of Kentucky basketball signee Trey Lyles and Arsenal Tech (Ind.) will play against Huntington (W.Va.) Prep on Thursday at 9:30 p.m., in a game that will be broadcast live on ESPN. Lyles led Tech to a 54-51 victory over Huntington Prep at the Marshall County Hoop Fest earlier this month. Top UK recruiting target Montaque Gill-Caesar is one of several Huntington Prep standouts.
■ University of Kentucky diver John Fox finished 27th in the preliminary round of the 3-meter competition at the 2013 USA Diving Winter National Championships in Austin, Texas. Fox placed 27th with a final score of 295.70. The senior was going up against 29 other competitors. The field also included former UK diver Corey Cowger, who finished 30th with a final score of 228.30. The top 18 finishers advanced to the semifinals, while the top 12 from the semis go on to the finals.
The last word
Saints Coach Sean Payton announced Wednesday that veteran Shayne Graham was New Orleans' new kicker, and that rookie Terron Armstead would get his first start at left tackle. Payton also asserted that the moves were aimed at improving performance at certain positions — not at getting the attention of his team after a 27-16 upset loss at St. Louis. Said Saints middle linebacker Curtis Lofton:
"When you make a move like that, it's telling everyone: 'You're accountable ... and when you don't go out and execute and play the way you should play, then there are consequences.'"