NEW YORK (CBSMiami/AP) —Don’t look now but the Miami Heat are beginning to resemble a consistent, winning squad.
Both the Heat and Brooklyn Nets are streaking. They’re going in opposite directions, though.
Dion Waiters scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, including the clinching 3 with 6.8 seconds left, and Miami overcame an 18-point deficit in the final period to beat beleaguered Brooklyn 109-106 on Wednesday night.
“Oh man, I love that moment,” Waiters said. “You can never shy away from that. You just can’t be afraid of taking them shots. I just wanted to get it over with and fortunately I made the shot.”
Wayne Ellington had 22 points and Goran Dragic added 17 for the resurgent Heat (16-30). Last in the Southeast Division, they have won a season-best five straight games.
Brook Lopez scored 33 for Brooklyn, including a career-high seven 3-pointers. Brooklyn (9-36) has lost 14 of 15 and owns the worst record in the NBA.
The Heat trailed 89-71 entering the fourth but outscored the Nets 38-17 the rest of the way.
“Obviously, it was a tough, gritty fourth quarter,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “This was an important challenge for us, coming off four home wins, to be able to handle success.”
Okaro White’s 3-pointer with 58 seconds left gave Miami its first lead, 102-101, since midway through the second period.
After Spencer Dinwiddie missed a jumper with 42 seconds left, White connected on two free throws.
Trevor Booker brought the Nets within one on a layup with 30 seconds remaining before Waiters hit his clinching 3.
“I think we just ran out of gas,” Booker said. “They grabbed the momentum and kept it and we slowed down.”
Lopez scored the Nets’ first 13 points, but the Heat led 34-30 after the first quarter.
Miami opened a 42-32 advantage on Dragic’s three-point play with 10:40 left in the second, but the Nets outscored the Heat 34-13 the rest of the quarter and took a 66-55 halftime lead following Sean Kilpatrick’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“Defensively we were not as solid as we are usually,” Dragic said. “Then the second quarter they came out blazing; they made every shot. We kind of just jogged, didn’t get back. That put us in a tough situation, but I am glad we responded how we did.”
Brooklyn opened the second half with six straight points. Miami got within 10 before the Nets raced out to their 18-point lead heading into the fourth.
Willie Reed (14 points) and White (10) each scored in double figures for the Heat.
Bojan Bogdanovic had 17 points, Caris LeVert scored 12 and Dinwiddie finished with 10 for the Nets.
“We were leading the whole game. We were right there. If that’s the positive to take from it, then that’s what we’ve got to take from it,” LeVert said.
Heat: Rodney McGruder’s 29 starts are the most by a Heat rookie since Mario Chalmers started all 82 games in 2008-09. … Miami has won five straight in Brooklyn since losing 104-95 in double overtime on Jan. 10, 2014.
Nets: Brooklyn has not won at home since a 120-118 victory over Charlotte on Dec. 26. … Joe Harris missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. He had started the previous nine.
MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME
It took 92 days for the Nets and Heat to play each other this season. They have now begun a stretch in which they will face each other three times in 17 days.
Bogdanovic is the only Net to play in all 45 games this season. He has started all but one of them.
Heat: Miami visits Chicago on Friday. The Heat have lost twice to the Bulls this season. Miami lost at home, 98-95, on Nov. 10, and in Chicago, 105-100, on Dec. 10. The Heat swept the series 4-0 last season.
Nets: Brooklyn visits Cleveland on Friday. The Cavaliers have already beaten the Nets twice this season, on Dec. 23 (119-99) in Cleveland and Jan. 6 (116-108) in Brooklyn.
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