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Rozier scores 34 with eight 3s, Miami holds off New York 109-99 to improve East playoff outlook

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MIAMI (AP) — Terry Rozier picked a great time for his highest-scoring game with the Miami Heat.

Rozier scored 34 points, sealed by a beat-the-shot-clock 3-pointer with 34 seconds remaining, and the Heat inched closer to an Eastern Conference playoff berth by holding off the New York Knicks 109-99 on Tuesday night.

Rozier was 10 for 15 from the field, 8 for 11 on 3s. And the Heat — who led by 16, then fell into a tie when New York went on a 12-0 run late — needed every bit of that effort.

“We stayed poised and figured out what we needed to do on offense,” Rozier said. “And we did it.”

Jimmy Butler scored 17 points, Bam Adebayo added 15 and Haywood Highsmith finished with 14 for the Heat.

“More than anything, this was an introduction to our new players, especially Terry, to Heat-Knicks,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “This is what these games are … two teams that are very committed to doing tough things, especially on the defensive end.”

Donte DiVincenzo scored 31 points for New York, while Deuce McBride added 24 and Jalen Brunson finished with 20 points and 10 assists.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 16 for New York. The Knicks rallied from 21 points down in the fourth quarter to beat Miami on Nov. 24 and nearly pulled off another big comeback — until Rozier delivered in the biggest moment for the Heat.

“You’ve got to give them credit,” Knicks forward Josh Hart said. “They opened the door, let us back in, and then they did what good teams do and finished up strong.”

Miami (42-33) moved within a half-game of idle Indiana for the coveted No. 6 — and last guaranteed playoff spot — in the East. The Heat also did their Florida neighbors a favor; the idle Orlando Magic leapfrogged New York (44-31) into No. 4 in the East by virtue of holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Knicks.

The Heat remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Philadelphia for No. 7 in the East; the 76ers visit Miami on Thursday.

Miami got Kevin Love back for the first time in more than a month — he’d missed the last 16 games with heel soreness — and he finished with eight points. The Heat were still without Tyler Herro, who missed his 19th consecutive game with right foot tendinitis.

New York’s Mitchell Robinson, who missed nearly four months after left ankle surgery, was back for the third time in the last four games. But the Knicks remained without O.G. Anunoby (right elbow) and Julius Randle (right shoulder). Anunoby was out for the 26th time in the last 29 games and Randle has now missed 29 consecutive games; he hasn’t played since getting hurt against Miami in late January.

The Knicks are still hoping Randle can get back this season.

“You have to have a belief that it will turn, which I do,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Maybe it’s tomorrow, maybe it’s the day after, who knows when it is, but just keep putting everything you have into each day. So, work out, do your rehab, try to strengthen your shoulder as much as you can and go from there.”

UP NEXT

Knicks: Host Sacramento on Thursday.

Heat: Host Philadelphia on Thursday.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer

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