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Heat In Denver Looking To Take Advantage Of Slumping Nuggets

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DENVER (CBSMiami/AP) – Following their first win during the month of December, the Miami Heat will try to build on that in Denver on Wednesday.

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw wishes he could give Ty Lawson a break after the point guard logged a considerable amount of minutes in the past two games.

Given the number of injuries plaguing the roster, Shaw doesn't have the luxury of giving any of his players much of a rest.

Denver looks to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat Wednesday night when it hosts a Heat team nearing the end of a five-game road trip.

Lawson played nearly 44 minutes and was 1 for 10 from the field in Sunday's 96-84 loss to Atlanta before scoring 22 points in more than 49 minutes the following night in a 112-107 overtime defeat against Toronto.

The Nuggets (9-12) went 0-3 on their trip, with Kenneth Faried (back), JaVale McGee (leg) and Nate Robinson (back) missing the final two. Shaw had only 10 players Monday, forcing Timofey Mozgov (49), Wilson Chandler (47) and Arron Afflalo (44) into extended minutes.

"I had to play those guys a ton of minutes to try and salvage this trip and try to get one game," Shaw said. "We just (couldn't) overcome that."

Lawson tried to brush off the notion that the heavy workload could hinder him down the road, but admitted Monday that the Nuggets "had no legs" in the fourth quarter.

Shaw attributes that to Denver consistently having to overcome deficits after playing sloppy in the first half. The Nuggets have been behind by double digits at halftime in each of their last three.

"It's been a problem for us all season. We dig a hole for ourselves and don't start defending until the second half," Shaw said. "We have to bring that desperation right from the beginning of the game."

Denver's skid began with a 105-103 loss to Portland on Dec. 2 that ended a four-game home win streak, and it will look to bounce back against a Heat team coming off a much-needed win.

Miami (10-11) had lost four straight by an average of 17.8 points before beating Phoenix 103-97 on Tuesday. Chris Bosh scored a season-high 34 points to go with nine rebounds and a season-best four steals, while Luol Deng added 23 points.

"There were a couple times they were able to get the lead up to five and, unfortunately, in previous games that tended to go double figures," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "But we were able to execute, stay in the moment and show more toughness than we have in the last handful of games."

Dwyane Wade scored 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting, ending his streak of making at least 50 percent at 11 games as he battled through a headache.

The Heat have averaged 89.2 points over their previous five.

"That was mostly the reason I came out aggressive in the second half," said Bosh, who finished 14 of 21 from the field. "I was going to do it anyway, but when (Wade) let me know (about the headache) I said I'd see what I can do, get some buckets and get the team going offensively."

Denver had lost three straight to Miami before a 111-107 victory in the most recent meeting March 14.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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