In a back-and-forth final quarter, the Miami Heat had the ball in a tie game with 23 seconds left. And with the game on the line, Miami again went to the player who made clutch baskets all year long, including Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals.
He didn't let the Heat down this time, either.
LeBron James' jumper over Arron Afflalo put Miami up 101-93 with 15 seconds remaining. And James grabbed the rebound off Victor Olapido's errant attempt in the closing seconds to seal the win. Miami won its sixth straight game to improve to 10-3 on the season.
Very dissimilar to Wednesday night's meeting between these two clubs, Orlando built a 16-point lead at the break. The Heat missed all 10 of their 3-point attempts, and the Magic made nine of their 13 attempts from downtown in the first half after impressive ball movement. Moreover, James scored just three points in the first half.
The four-time NBA MVP nailed two 3s to start the third quarter. Dwyane Wade -- who returned from a two-game absence -- drove down the lane for two tomahawk dunks that recalled his earlier days. Those two dunks seemed to energize the Heat, as Miami eventually made up the entire 16-point deficit in just eight minutes off of two straight Norris Cole field goals. But it wasn't until James grabbed his ninth rebound of the night that the Heat players could exhale.
In addition to his rebounds, James scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 22 on the night. He also dished out seven assists, bringing out his one-handed court-court bullet pass in this game for a huge Ray Allen 3. The two-time NBA champion also picked up three steals and spent considerable time guarding Glen Davis, who returned from a 10-month absence to have an impressive season debut.
It was most encouraging to see Wade play well, though. He started off just 1-for-7 from the field, looking like a player battling through nagging injuries yet again. But Wade's burst in the third quarter dispelled any doubts about Wade's knee, as he clearly had the athleticism that enabled him to score 29 points earlier this season against the Los Angeles Clippers. The 2006 NBA Finals MVP finished with a game-high 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and 9-of-10 shooting from the foul line, four rebounds, four assists and just one turnover.
Like Wade, Bosh also went through a tough stretch. He made his first three shots and subsequently missed his next seven attempts. But he made a jumper with 4:33 left in the game to give Miami its first lead since the opening minutes. Bosh also made a jumper with 1:48 left to put the Heat up four. He finished with 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and six rebounds.
Michael Beasley didn't play after intermission but put in a nice eight-minute stint in the first half, going 4-for-4 from the field to score nine points. If it wasn't for his offense when all three members of the Big Three didn't play specularly, Miami might have been down 20 at halftime.
The Heat host the Phoenix Suns Monday at 7:30 p.m.