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LeBron driving layup saves Heat winning streak; squeak by Magic 97-96

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The Miami Heat somehow escaped out of their own arena by just one point over the lowly Orlando Magic to miraculously save their winning streak.

LeBron saves the game with this driving layup.
LeBron saves the game with this driving layup.
Chris Trotman

The Miami Heat opened the second half by increasing their lead over the lottery-bound Orlando Magic to twenty points. The franchise-record winning streak appeared to be safe for one more game.

Before you knew it, Jameer Nelson (16 points and 14 assists) and Nikola Vucevic had led a furious Magic comeback charge to outscore the Heat 34-22 in the third quarter and eventually overtake the champs and winners of 15 straight games. Eventually their massive 46-21 run had spilled over into the fourth quarter and the Magic finally took their first lead of the night at 82-81.

Somehow, the Heat were able to make enough key defensive stops down the stretch to get back into the game, despite ultimately scoring just four field goals in the fourth quarter, and preserve their franchise-leading winning streak with their 16th straight. Magic forward Tobias Harris was not able to convert a basket despite being directly in front of the rim because of two blocks from Chris Bosh and Ray Allen. Shane Battier then drew a charge on Harris, fouling him out of the game and erasing what would have been a five-point lead. Wade then had a block on a drive to the basket by DeQuan Jones. A strong collective team effort by the Heat forced Al Harrington into a difficult shot attempt and LeBron rebounded the ball with the home team down by one point.

LeBron's subsequent go-ahead driving layup with just 3.2 seconds left in the game was just the first field goal in the last seven minutes of the game. Six free throws accounted for the rest of the Heat's offensive output during crunch time, with one free throw attempt missed by LeBron and Bosh.

This was the closest win margin during the Heat's historic winning streak, and they also struggled against the Charlotte Bobcats in a five-point win and the Cleveland Cavaliers by just four. This is the Heat's 27th home victory in 30 games.

The Heat enjoyed a 31-12 free throw shooting advantage and Vucevic, Harris and Moe Harkless all eventually fouled out of the game.

Vucevic had yet another career game versus the Heat this season with a highly impressive 25 points and 21 rebounds. The young center destroyed the Heat's interior defense, a jarring reminder that the Heat's troubles with opposing centers is not strictly a thing of the past. Perhaps this wake up call will have them better prepared against the upcoming Indiana Pacers.