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Bobcats rally, beat Heat 83-78 to take tiebreaker

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Stephen Jackson scored 17 points, Raymond Felton added 15 points and 11 assists, and the Charlotte Bobcats used a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Miami Heat 83-78 on Tuesday night in a key game for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference.

The Bobcats (31-31) reached .500 at the latest point in their six-year history and moved into a tie with Miami (32-32) as they both tangle with Chicago for the last two playoff spots.

Charlotte moved to 3-0 against Miami and clinched the tiebreaker by rallying from nine points down with 9 minutes left.

Dwyane Wade scored 27 points, but passed up a tying shot in the final minute, then clanged a tying 3-point attempt in the final seconds for the Heat, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Trailing 80-78 in the final minute, Miami forced a shot clock violation and Wade then got the ball at the top of the circle. He whipped a pass into the corner for Udonis Haslem, who missed a baseline jumper.

Felton then hit just 1-of-2 free throws with 7.2 seconds left, giving Miami another chance. But Wade's 3 in the left corner bounced off the rim.

The Heat fell apart offensively, managing 12 points in the fourth quarter and 30 in the second half after a quick start gave them a 14-point lead.

The Bobcats, who won their third straight — all at home — recovered from a sluggish start.

Down by 13 midway through the third quarter and 72-63 early in the fourth, the Bobcats stormed back behind D.J. Augustin. His four-point play and four free throws in an 8-0 run cut the lead to one.

After three failed chances with the ball down a point, Felton drained a 3-pointer with 3:32 left to give Charlotte its first lead since 6-4.

Charlotte was able to hold on despite just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting from Gerald Wallace, who did grab 17 rebounds. Felton committed only three turnovers and outplayed Miami's backcourt.

Carlos Arroyo again got the start at point guard for Miami, while coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game the team still hadn't heard from Rafer Alston outside text messaging.

Alston, who was benched from Thursday's win over the Lakers, failed to show for Saturday's game against the Hawks and was suspended indefinitely.

Spoelstra wouldn't say if Alston will be released, but said the Heat are "moving forward with the guys we have in this locker room."

That combination looked pretty good early.

With Jermaine O'Neal dominating Theo Ratliff inside and Wade scoring on nifty drives, Miami led 48-34 before Charlotte closed the first half with five straight points.

About the only amusing first-half moment for Charlotte's home crowd was during the game's first timeout. Curly Neal, in town to promote an upcoming visit by the Harlem Globetrotters, came over to embrace Bobcats owner-to-be Michael Jordan.

Attending his fourth straight game since agreeing to buy the club, Jordan grinned and slapped some high-fives after Charlotte improved to 23-8 at home.

O'Neal finished with 19 points, but wasn't as effective in the second half, while Wade needed 26 shots to get his points.

Michael Beasley had 11 points and nine rebounds, but played only three minutes in the fourth quarter.

NOTES: Bobcats coach Larry Brown denied an SI.com report that he inquired about the Clippers' coaching job while concerned Jordan's ownership bid might fail. Asked if he was committed to Charlotte long-term, Brown replied, "It's up to Michael." ... Brown said he hasn't talked with Allen Iverson, who left the 76ers amid reports of personal problems, in three weeks. "I'm concerned he's not in the league. I'm concerned his wife filed for divorce," Brown said. "It's not an easy thing to hear about." ... Spoelstra said he immediately thought of Hank Gathers when he watched Detroit's Rodney Stuckey collapse last week. "I shuddered and it immediately brought back many horrible memories," said Spoelstra, who played in the game Gathers collapsed and died in 20 years ago.