DENVER (CBSMIAMI/AP) — It had been more than a decade since the Miami Heat last tasted victory in the Mile High City. But that drought was relieved Thursday night with a 98-93 victory by the Heat over the Denver Nuggets.
LeBron James had 27 points and 12 assists and helped the team hold on despite having played four games in five nights and missing two starters.
“We came out to play,” James said. “We played great for three quarters and we knew they were going to make a run and we came too far to let that game slip away from us.”
Shane Battier added 18 points, all on 3-pointers, in the Heat’s first win at Denver since Jan. 29, 2002. Every other NBA team has won at the Pepsi Center during that span.
The Heat nearly blew a 19-point second-half lead but held on despite being without Dwyane Wade (foot) and Mario Chalmers, who went to the bench after just seven-and-a-half minutes with a strained right triceps. Even James had an ice pack on his right shoulder after the game.
Andre Miller had 19 points and Kenneth Faried led the Nuggets with 16 points and a career-high 20 rebounds as Denver outrebounded Miami 48-29 and outscored the Heat 50-24 in the paint. But the Heat kept their turnovers down and hit 13 3-pointers. Battier and Mike Miller combined for 10 of them.
Ty Lawson, who is averaging 13.5 points, didn’t score.
Coming off a loss to the Clippers 24 hours earlier, the Heat looked primed for a letdown at altitude but instead never trailed in beating Denver for the second time in two weeks even though the Nuggets outrebounded them 48-29 and outscored them in the paint 50-24.
Allen, who had the go-ahead four-point play with 6.7 seconds left in a 119-116 win over Denver in Miami on Nov. 3, sank a 3-pointer just before halftime that gave the Heat a 54-42 lead at the break.
The Heat went up 70-51 on back-to-back 3s by Mike Miller and Battier and still led 79-66 heading into the fourth quarter, when the Nuggets cut the Heat’s lead to one point on a couple of occasions — but kept blowing chances to go ahead.
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