LeBron James - USA TODAY Sports
LeBron James struggled throughout the game, but did hit a huge 3-pointer to put Miami up 4 with 24 seconds left. The Heat held on to win its 13th straight game, snapping Memphis' eight-game win streak.
The Miami Heat nursed a one-point lead with 42 seconds left against a Memphis Grizzlies team that had won eight straight games heading into Friday night's game. LeBron James had struggled mightily from the field, only scoring six points through three quarters and missing eight of his first 10 shot attempts. But when Dwyane Wade threw him the ball 25 feet from the basket, he rose up and took the shot. The clutch 3-pointer went down, putting Miami up four with 24 seconds to go. The Heat held on to win 98-91, winning its 13th straight game and setting the team's longest winning streak in the Big Three era.
James finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Memphis posed a unique challenge for James, throwing a lanky defender like Tayshaun Prince on him at the perimeter and providing shot-blockers at the rim. Still, the three-time MVP deserves credit for finding open players in key moments. He threw a nice pass to Ray Allen for a layup after the 3-point king cut to the basket with four minutes left, and lobbed a perfect alley-oop pass to Dwyane Wade from behind the half-court line for a highlight play in the third quarter.
In an uncharacteristic moment, Shane Battier also had a key pass in this game. After Zach Randolph closed out to him on the 3-point line, Battier drove to the basket and made a whip-around pass to Chris Bosh for a crucial three-point play that put Miami up three with two minutes left. The former Memphis player continued his hot shooting, making four 3s, and also played solid defense and grabbed a huge offensive rebound with 88 seconds left.
With James struggling from the field, Wade and Chris Bosh played efficiently to keep Miami afloat. The 2006 NBA Finals MVP scored a team-high 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and dished out eight assists. Wade continues to prove that he's still a great player (although he could improve his free-throw shooting). Bosh, meanwhile, shot 6-of-12 from the field for 13 points. He had an effective third-quarter offensively, but didn't receive many chances in the final frame -- aside from that big three-point play. Ray Allen added 10 points and six boards for the Heat, which improved to 42-14 on the season.
Miami will visit the New York Knicks Sunday at 1 p.m. on ABC.