Thursday, April 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Heat win 12th straight, outlast Kings in 2OT

MIAMI — Heat coach Erik Spoelstra summed up the efforts of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in three words: “Video game numbers,” he said.

Both put up monster stat lines.

And the Miami Heat needed them.

James scored 40 points and added a career-high 16 assists, Wade had 39 points, and the Heat pushed their winning streak to 12 games by outlasting the Sacramento Kings 141-129 in double overtime on Tuesday night.

“Some great stat lines tonight,” James said. “But I’m happy I was able to do what I did and help our team win.”

Great stat lines might be calling it an understatement. Consider:

— A season high in scoring for James, who capped off the best shooting month of his career.

— A season high in scoring for Wade, who tied a career best with 19 field goals.

— A 36-point night for the Kings’ Marcus Thornton, the most by any non-starter in the NBA this season.

— The 141 points tied a Heat franchise record, set in 1991.

— Add James’ assists to the mix, and he put up the NBA’s first night of at least 40 points and 16 assists since April 1994. The man who did it then? None other than Phoenix guard Kevin Johnson, now, ironically enough, the mayor of Sacramento. And for February, James finished 139 for 217 from the floor, that 64.1 percent clip the best of his career for any month.

“It was a great atmosphere,” said Thornton, who made 11 of 18 shots, including 8 of 12 from 3-point range. “To be able to take that team to two overtimes just shows the testament of us growing. A team like that — championship team — they play great together. Obviously I hate losing but it was a great effort by us.”

Ray Allen added 21, Chris Bosh finished with 15 and Chris Andersen had 10 for the Heat, who remained six games clear of second-place Indiana in the Eastern Conference standings.

Miami’s 12-game winning streak is the longest in the NBA and matches the second-longest in franchise history.

Tyreke Evans scored 26 points for Sacramento. DeMarcus Cousins finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds, John Salmons added 15 and Isaiah Thomas 14 for the Kings, who lost their sixth straight.

“They’ve got a couple of guys that can turn the notch up pretty quickly,” Kings coach Keith Smart said. “LeBron and Dwyane played an incredible game. It took a Superman-type game from both of those guys.”

Smart said before the game that sometimes “great teams get a little bored with the regular season and they need something to get them going.”

The Heat didn’t seem to be bored by the second overtime.

After a late non-call that James wanted, he simply seemed mad.

James scored inside to open the second extra session, yelling “and one” at referees as his way of insisting he was fouled as well. But after one sensational sequence, the game was pretty much sealed.

Thornton had a chance to give the Kings the lead after a Heat turnover, but his shot at the rim was blocked by Wade, who came down and set up James for a 3-pointer — a five-point swing, in essence, and the Heat had a 131-127 lead. James scored again, then added two free throws and found Bosh for a dunk and 10-point lead with 1:29 remaining.

“It’s tough but this is a loss I consider a good loss,” Cousins said. “Our effort tonight was incredible. We come out and play like that every night, we can beat a lot of teams.”

Sacramento fell to 1-17 against Miami since March 2004.

James was perfect in the second overtime: 3-for-3 from the field, 4-for-4 from the line. He had more points (11-5), rebounds (3-0), and assists (3-1) in the final five minutes than the Kings had combined.

“No matter what their record is, they made plays just like us. They gave everything they had and more,” James said.

The Heat missed key free throws late in both regulation and the first overtime — Wade missing a pair with 21 seconds left in the fourth, and James missed one of two with 29.3 seconds left in the opening extra session.

Those two free throws were the only ones Wade was awarded all night.

“I knew we came out a little flat and they came out so free,” Wade said. “So I told myself to be a little aggressive and kept us afloat a little bit. And in the overtime, LeBron got going a little bit. We kept going to him and he delivered.”

In the first OT, the Kings had a chance for the late lead and potentially the win, but Thomas had a layup blocked by Bosh, and Allen grabbed the rebound for the Heat with 5.7 seconds left.

Miami put the ball in Wade’s hands, and he found James near the basket. James’ shot missed, and he complained he was fouled by Salmons on the attempt. Referees disagreed with that, but after a lengthy review to determine possession, they awarded Miami the ball with 0.4 seconds remaining. It was much ado for nothing, as Bosh’s shot sailed long and the teams went to double overtime.

The game was tied at 92 midway through the fourth before Wade — with six points and an assist — led a 13-4 run that looked like it would give Miami breathing room. Miami was up 105-96, and still led 112-104 when James scored with 1:40 remaining.

Sacramento roared back, scoring the final eight points of regulation. Thornton hit a pair of 3-pointers, the second coming with 23 seconds left to get the Kings within 112-110. And after Wade missed a pair of free throws, Cousins grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it back with 8.5 seconds remaining to knot the game at 112-all.

Out of a timeout, the Heat went to Wade, whose step-back 20-footer bounced off the rim as time expired, sending it to overtime.

They were just getting started. And when it was over, the Heat streak survived.

“We’re coming together,” James said. “We’re doing it the right way. We’re executing offensively. We’re sharing the ball. And we’re not getting rattled. We’ve been in some crazy games. We just stay the course and figure out a way to get the victory.”

NOTES: Miami finished February with a 12-1 record, with the one loss to start the month. … The Heat have allowed 68 third-quarter points in their last two games, both at home. They gave up 67 third-quarter points in their previous three games, all on the road. … One day after celebrating his 24th birthday, Kings G Jimmer Fredette did not play. … The Heat played without F Shane Battier, sidelined by right hamstring tightness. He’s day-to-day.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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