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Notes on Thursday's games in the National Basketball Association ...

They're Hot, Baby. On Jan. 27, the Miami Heat were 19-25, just a chalk outline on the sidewalk, really. Not only did their two stars miss significant time due to injuries, but so did their coach, for Pete's sake. Cut to Thursday, as Antoine Walker and Shaquille O'Neal scored 20 points each in a 94-90 win over Cleveland, helping the Heat clinch a berth in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Miami moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Washington in the Southeast Division, and, uh, we don't like the Wiz chances of catching back up.


To Catch The Sun. They way things began, no way did we think the Spurs would catch the Suns for the No. 2 seed in the West. But look! Over there! (No, not the curtains ... over there). Tony Parker scored a season-high 35 points to lead San Antonio over Phoenix 92-85, bringing the Spurs to within two games of Phoenix for second place in the West. Steve Nash led the Suns with 20 points.

Zero Tolerance. As you may have heard, Gilbert Arenas' knee surgery has ended his season. Arenas was diagnosed with a lateral meniscus tear and had arthroscopic surgery at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington. He was injured in the first quarter of Wednesday night's 108-100 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. He could be back, though, should the Wizards make the NBA Finals, which we could absolutely see happening now.

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