Rockets Fizzle, Heat Makes History, 125-119
MIAMI (CBS4/AP) – Dwyane Wade was hurting at halftime and spent much of the third quarter recovering in the Miami locker room, but while he was out he was not down. He returned in plenty of time to help set Heat history; the first time 3 players each it more than 30 in the same game.
LeBron James had 33 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, Chris Bosh added 31 points and 12 rebounds, and the Heat beat the Houston Rockets 125-119 on Sunday for their eighth win in nine games.
Wade shook off a bruised tailbone and finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds for Miami, which had three players score 30 or more for the first time in the franchise’s 23-year history.
The last time a team had three players score 30 in the same game was Feb. 26, 2010, when Houston had Martin, Aaron Brooks and Scola combine for 94 against San Antonio. Before that, you’d have to go back all the way to Nov. 14, 1997, when Portland’s Isaiah Rider, Brian Grant and Arvydas Sabonis all had 30-plus points and 10 or more rebounds in a quadruple-overtime win over Phoenix.
James, Wade and Bosh did it without the benefit of 20 extra minutes.
Mike Bibby added 14 points for the Heat, who beat Houston by the same score on Dec. 29.
Kevin Martin scored 29 points, Luis Scola added 28 and Kyle Lowry had 25 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Rockets. Chase Budinger scored 16 for Houston, which had a five-game winning streak snapped.
Wade sealed it with 33 seconds left, taking a handoff from James and making a left-handed layup while getting knocked into a row of courtside photographers for a 120-115 lead. The Heat never trailed in the fourth quarter, taking the lead for good when James Jones made three free throws with 9:22 remaining.
The Rockets are 0-3 when trying to win six straight games this season, and haven’t had a run of that many wins since February 2009.
Miami’s “Big Three” ensured that drought would continue. Wade, James and Bosh combined to score 91 points in Miami’s win over Philadelphia on Friday, and combined for 94 on Sunday.
It wasn’t anywhere near as easy as their stat lines would indicate.
Scola played off James at the top of the key with 3:35 left, the two-time reigning MVP made a stepback jumper, and the Heat lead was 116-106. Lowry tipped in his own missed layup with 51 seconds remaining to get Houston within 118-115, but Wade came through on the next Miami possession, and the Heat survived.
Miami’s magic number is now six to win the Southeast Division.
Much like the 125-119 Heat win at Houston earlier this season, this was another track meet. Miami’s 38 first-quarter points were its second-highest total of the season — and Houston’s 37 points after 12 minutes were the third-most the Heat had given up this season.
It was 71-68 at the half, Miami’s highest-scoring opening two quarters in more than five years.
Still, it didn’t provide much of a cushion.
The bigger concern was Wade, who bruised his tailbone after appearing to trip over teammate Juwan Howard’s feet while trying to grab an offensive rebound midway through the second. He finished the half, but missed the first 7½ minutes of the third quarter while being tended to in the Miami locker room.
And the Rockets took advantage.
Martin had 11 points in the third quarter, nine of them coming in an 89-second span. He made a 3-pointer with 5:20 left in the period, slapping his hands in frustration and yelling that he got fouled. So he drew shooting fouls on each of Houston’s next two possessions, including one while shooting a 3 with 4:30 left. He made all three foul shots and the Rockets were up 87-81.
That’s when Wade returned, and Miami got a spark.
The Heat closed the quarter on a 12-4 run over the final 3:17, capped by James blowing past Patrick Patterson for a dunk that knotted the game at 93 entering the fourth.