Wade carries Heat late, Miami tops Wizards 99-90

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 10, 2014 at 10:09 pm •  Published: March 10, 2014
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MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James set the tone pregame. Dwyane Wade took over in the fourth quarter.

And the Miami Heat got a win they desperately wanted.

Wade scored 13 of his 22 points in the final period and led a critical 12-0 run down the stretch, James led all scorers with 23 points and the Heat clinched a playoff spot by beating the Washington Wizards 99-90 on Monday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

"We needed a win," Wade said. "We needed this win."

Chris Bosh scored 22 for the Heat (44-17), who moved within one game of Indiana (46-17) in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and 1½ games behind San Antonio (46-16) for the league's best record. Ray Allen added 13 for Miami, which was coming off a trip where it lost at Houston, San Antonio and Chicago, the last of those coming in a late collapse on Sunday.

Wade hasn't typically played back-to-backs this season. He did this time, and the Heat simply rolled with him in the final minutes on the way to avoiding what would have been their first four-game slide since 2011.

"He made the right plays," James said.

Bradley Beal scored 18 points, Martell Webster added 17 and Drew Gooden scored 15 for the Wizards. Marcin Gortat finished with 14 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds — 10 of them in the first quarter alone.

John Wall finished with eight assists for Washington.

"I'm proud of our guys," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "They kept battling, working. We didn't shoot it the way we're capable of. We got some good looks. We shared the ball. We attacked the whole game."

Washington led 84-83 midway through the fourth, when Wade took over.

A three-point play put Miami ahead to stay and he then had assists on Miami's next three baskets — a short jumper and then a 3-pointer from Bosh, then a layup by James.

Wade capped the run with a score of his own, on the way to his first 13-point, three-assist fourth quarter since Feb. 18, 2009. His 13 in the fourth marked his highest-scoring quarter this season, and came with him playing consecutive days for the first time since Jan. 4 and 5. It was only the third time all season he's appeared in both nights of a back-to-back.

Both teams shot only nine free throws; despite being in attack mode, James didn't shoot one for the second straight game, just the second time that's happened in his career, the first coming in December 2003, early in his rookie season.