MIAMI (AP) — Chris Bosh scored 13 straight points for Miami in the final minutes, including a trio of 3-pointers that capped a late rally, and the Heat found a way to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 99-98 on Sunday night to extend their winning streak to 10 games.
Bosh’s three 3s came in a 79-second span, the last of them putting Miami up 93-91 with 1:20 left.
LeBron James led the Heat with 26 points, Bosh finished with 22, Dwyane Wade scored 17 and Mario Chalmers added 12 for Miami, which has beaten the Bobcats 14 straight times.
Kemba Walker scored 27 points for the Bobcats, who had led the entire second half until Bosh’s barrage. Gerald Henderson scored 17, and Al Jefferson finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte.
The Heat were down 12 when James re-entered the game with 8:04 left. He quickly got a three-point play to cut the lead to 79-70, and things got interesting in a hurry.
A 3-pointer from James with 6:18 left cut the lead to six. He made a pass to Chalmers for another 3 about 90 seconds later, and that shot got Miami within three.
That’s when the Bosh long-range display began. The first one bounced off the rim or backboard at least five times. The second one swished.
The third one put Miami up for good, 93-91.
And somehow, on a night where nothing went right for long stretches, the Heat escaped.
James got treatment Saturday and again before the game Sunday on his back, which has bothered him all season and was aggravated in Friday’s matchup at Toronto.
He seemed to lack his usual lift at times, especially when he elevated toward the rim midway through the opening quarter after taking a pass from Chalmers on a play that typically would have resulted in an easy slam. James not only didn’t convert the dunk, he seemed to lose the ball as he rose, then took a bit of a tumble as well.
But he also had his moments, of course. Late in the first quarter, with Cody Zeller guarding him on the left wing, James went into attack mode, got into the lane and scored while being fouled, staking Miami to a 22-15 lead and capping a stretch where the Heat made six straight shots.
Moments like that were in short supply for much of the night.
Henderson hit a pair of jumpers in a burst where Charlotte scored the first six points of the second half, and after Miami got within three on a drive by James, the Bobcats responded with a 16-8 run. The Bobcats made five straight shots, all of them jumpers and from an average of 18 feet, while the Heat missed their final five of the quarter and trailed 73-61 entering the fourth.
Miami pulled it out with a 38-point final quarter, and it wasn’t decided until the final seven-tenths of a second. Walker tried to miss a free throw intentionally with the Bobcats down two, but it bounced in, and time expired one pass later.
Jefferson’s jumper with 40 seconds left in the half put Charlotte up 48-47, and that’s how the teams headed into intermission.
Miami led by 10 points twice during a relatively sleepy first half, the last of those double-digit cushions coming when Wade scored with 6:17 left. The Bobcats outscored the Heat 18-7 in the rest of the half, with Henderson getting seven points in the span of about 2 minutes and Miami going without any field goals in the final 3:56 of the period.
Wade was credited with his second block of the night on the final play before halftime, that swat being the 676th of his career, the most ever recorded by an NBA player who stands 6-foot-4 or shorter.
Dennis Johnson was the holder of that distinction, getting 675 blocks in 1,100 games. Sunday was the 679th game of Wade’s career.
NOTES: During one stoppage in play late in the first half, James shot a pair of 3-pointers that bounced off the rim, only noteworthy because he shot them both left-handed (he writes with his left hand, but plays with a dominant right hand). … Michael Kidd-Gilchrist returned to the Charlotte lineup after missing one game with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. … The Bobcats’ starting lineup of Kidd-Gilchrist, Josh McRoberts, Jefferson, Henderson and Walker is now 1-6.
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