MIAMI – Trailing entering the fourth quarter is becoming common for the Miami Heat.
So is overcoming those deficits.
Down by five entering the fourth, the Heat clamped down and beat the Toronto Raptors 102-97 Sunday night, getting 30 points from LeBron James and 17 from reserve Michael Beasley.
“We stayed with it mentally,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We were into the grind and staying the course and had to continue to make plays.”
Playing in a back-to-back for the first time since mid-November, Dwyane Wade scored 14 points in 35 minutes for Miami, which got 11 rebounds from Chris Bosh and outscored the Raptors 23-13 in the final quarter.
Miami is 7-6 this season when trailing entering the fourth.
“Just find a way to win,” James said. “Every game is different. One game is different is from the next and you just find a way to win when you can.”
The way they won this one was defensively. The Heat shot only 7-for-20 in the fourth, but the Raptors shot 6-for-21.
“They got more aggressive,” Toronto’s Kyle Lowry said. “We weren’t attacking as much in transition. First three quarters we were able to get out and run a little bit more. The quarter started very slow for us and it really hurt us.”
DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points on 11-for-19 shooting for Toronto, which was bidding for its first six-game winning streak since April 2007. Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas each scored 17 for the Raptors, who got 14 from Lowry.
Toronto had a slew of late chances. Johnson could have given the Raptors the lead with 25 seconds left, but his 4-footer bounced off the rim. And Lowry’s 3-point attempt with Toronto down three with 6 seconds left also missed, with James corralling that rebound and sealing the win at the foul line.
“We couldn’t get a bucket,” DeRozan said. “Things were going our way and then it came down to LeBron hitting a couple of big shots.”
Nuggets 137, Lakers 115
In Los Angeles, Ty Lawson had 20 points and 12 assists, Timofey Mozgov added 20 points and seven rebounds, and the Nuggets beat the slumping Lakers for their second straight win after an eight-game skid.
Denver emphatically earned a win for coach Brian Shaw in his first game back at Staples Center to face the Lakers as a head coach. The longtime Lakers guard and assistant coach was passed over for the top job in Los Angeles after Phil Jackson’s departure.
Knicks 92, Mavericks 80
In Dallas, Carmelo Anthony scored 15 of his 19 points in the first quarter to jump-start New York.
Grizzlies 112, Pistons 84
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Jon Leuer matched a career high with 23 points, Zach Randolph had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Memphis dominated the second half.
Thunder 119, Celtics 96
In Oklahoma City, Reggie Jackson scored a career-high 27 points, Kevin Durant added 21 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Warriors 112, Wizards 96
In Washington, Klay Thompson scored 26 points, Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut connected on a trick play worthy of the NBA’s slam dunk contest, and Golden State secured its longest in-season winning streak (9) since 1975.
Pacers 82, Cavaliers 78
In Cleveland, Paul George scored 16 points, Roy Hibbert made a putback and two free throws in the final 1:09, and Indiana withstood a late rally.