ORLANDO, Fla. _ When the Miami Heat needed a big lift on the road in the fourth quarter, Dwyane Wade stepped up.
Wade scored 12 of his 24 points in the final period, all in the final five minutes, and the Heat beat the Orlando Magic 108-101 on Saturday night.
Chris Bosh had 24 points and 10 rebounds as Miami won for the third time in four games, including a 94-88 overtime victory against New Orleans on Christmas. Goran Dragic scored 22 points, and reserve Gerald Green had 15.
Wade, who turns 34 on Jan. 17, was 7 for 12 from the field and 10 for 10 at the free-throw line for the game. He also had six assists.
“Obviously I understand the ball was going to be in my hand a lot (in the fourth quarter) and I understand what that might mean,” Wade said. “I kind of knew where my shots would come from and I got a couple to go, but more importantly, it was about being aggressive.”
Nik Vucevic led Orlando with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Elfrid Payton added 18 points and seven assists.
Payton, one of three Magic players tasked with slowing Wade down, praised Heat coach Erik Spoelstra for putting the veteran shooting guard in position to be successful.
“The only thing you can really do is try to get it out of his hands, but then they’ve got guys that can knock down shots,” Payton said.
That was especially true in the fourth quarter, when Miami hit 13 of 18 shots, including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. A 3-pointer from Green gave Miami an 82-81 lead with just over eight minutes to play, and then Wade helped the Heat to the win with a mixture of drives and jumpers.
Payton and Vucevic scored all of Orlando’s points in the final nine minutes, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with Wade and the rest of the Heat.
“When things get a little tight, we occasionally get the blinders on and want to do it on our own,” Magic coach Scott Skiles said. “We kind of panicked and everybody tried to be the hero instead of just doing what we do. We’re not good enough to do that. Period.”
Miami trailed 61-46 early in the third quarter before it started to get into a flow offensively. Bosh and Wade sparked an 18-5 run that got the Heat within two.
Payton made a driving layup to help Orlando close to 104-101 with 1:06 to play, but the Magic were shut out from there. Wade made four straight free throws, and the Heat coasted through the final minute.
Payton had 12 points and three assists in the fourth quarter for Orlando. However, he missed a layup with 44 seconds to play.
Tobias Harris scored 13 points for Orlando, and Evan Fournier had 12.
Heat: Miami is 13-1 in its last 14 meetings against the Magic, including seven straight wins in Orlando. … Wade played his 800th game for Miami. … The Heat are 9-1 when scoring 100 points or more this season.
Magic: Vucevic is averaging 18.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and three assists in 12 December games. Shaquille O’Neal is the only other Magic player to reach those numbers in one month in franchise history. … SG Victor Oladipo is 9 for 35 (25.7 per cent) in his last four games.
Heat: Host Brooklyn on Monday night.
Magic: Host New Orleans on Monday night.
Miami improved to 5-5 on the road, but Spoelstra wants more from his team than a .500 record away from home.
“We’ve had some disappointing moments on the road, but you have to go through it,” Spoelstra said. “The only way to get better is to face some adversity together and find your breakthrough. We’re trying to figure it out.
The Associated Press