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MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) — The Miami Heat are locked in a four-team battle for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and attempt to bounce back from a demoralizing defeat when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

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Miami suffered a 102-100 overtime loss to the lowly Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday in the opener of a three-game road trip that concludes in Portland on Saturday.

The Heat are in a cluster for the third spot with Atlanta, Boston and Charlotte and coach Erik Spoelstra felt the correct team won Wednesday’s contest.

“You typically get what you deserve in the league, and we did not deserve this game,” Spoelstra told reporters. “There were some things we did well, but if you saw any kind of effort, or focus, they were beating us in those departments and we paid the price for it.”

Sacramento has reached 30 victories for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign after knocking off the Washington Wizards 120-111 on Wednesday.

All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points against Washington but drew his 16th technical foul in the final seconds to land a one-game suspension.

TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami)

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Shooting guard Dwayne Wade (26 points, 10 rebounds), small forward Luol Deng (22 points, 11 rebounds) and center Hassan Whiteside (18 points, 17 rebounds, seven blocked shots) all had superb performances against the Lakers but the supporting cast didn’t come through. Point guard Goran Dragic (5-of-14) and backup shooting guard Josh Richardson (0-of-8) were the biggest culprits as Miami lost a game it was counting on winning. It is looking more likely that All-Star power forward Chris Bosh (blood clot) won’t return during the regular season and probably won’t be medically cleared for the postseason either.

Reaching the 30-win mark isn’t cause for celebration for most NBA teams but it is for Sacramento due to the franchise’s recent lackluster history. “I’m encouraged because of the way we’re playing,” backup guard Darren Collision told reporters. “But I’m discouraged because I wish, you know, it’s unfortunate we couldn’t play like this all season long.” Point guard Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 11 assists against Washington for his fourth straight outing of 11 or more assists.


1. The Heat have won the past three meetings, including a 116-109 home win over the Kings on Nov. 19.

2. Miami SG Joe Johnson is 11-of-36 shooting – and 1-of-15 from 3-point range – over the past five contests.

3. Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac received a multi-year contract extension before Wednesday’s victory.

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By SportsDirect Inc.