LeBron James scored 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting to lead the Miami Heat over the Toronto Raptors 102-97 Sunday night at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
It was the second game of a back-to-back for Miami (26-8), who beat the Orlando Magic the night before. For the first time since mid-November, Dwyane Wade played the second part of the consecutive games.
Wade finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. He had 20 points the night before.
“His legs were live and he made some good defensive plays at the end,” said coach Erik Spoelstra.
Michael Beasley added on 17 points. Bosh struggled from the field, going 2-of-9 after converting 9-of-9 shots the night before, but grabbed 11 much-needed rebounds.
After playing the first half, Mario Chalmers sat for the remainder of the game after aggravating his achilles tendonitis.
Spoelstra didn’t want to take any chances.
“It got really sore toward the end of the first half and we felt it would be best to sit him in the second,” Spoelstra said.
DeMar DeRozan had 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting and seven assists. Bigs Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas each had 17 points and point guard Kyle Lowry had 14 points and nine assists.
Miami outscored Toronto 23-13 in the final quarter and put the game away on free throws by the Big Three. It started with stripe points from Bosh to give Miami a 96-93 lead. DeRozan quickly drove for the dunk to cut the lead to one.
A couple of possessions later, Wade would grab an important defensive rebound off an Amir Johnson 5-foot hook shot that came up short. Lowry fouled Wade, who hit his two free throws.
With 17 seconds left, Valanciunas made an easy layup to cut the lead back to one at 98-97. Toronto needed to foul and sent James to the line twice at the end. James hit four free throws to end the game.
Unlike the Magic, the Raptors were able to keep the game close until the final seconds.
“We had to earn it, it wasn’t pretty. We were into the grind and stayed the course. We had just enough to finish it off,” Spoelstra said.
It is not a coincidence that Spoelstra decided to play Wade tonight, the Heat take the Raptors seriously. Toronto (16-16) was riding a five-game win streak heading into Sunday night. Since trading Rudy Gay on December 9, the Raptors have gone 9-4 and are in position to make a run for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Miami hosts the New Orleans Pelicans 7:30 Tuesday night before hitting the road for six-straight games.
See the game against New Orleans by getting Miami Heat vs New Orleans Pelicans tickets here.