With less than 100 seconds remaining in the Miami Heat's game at the Brooklyn Nets, Chris Bosh set a great screen to free a cutting Dwyane Wade off the ball. Luol Deng launched a pass to Wade at the basket; the 2006 NBA Finals MVP converted on an and-one layup to put Miami up 97-93.
Deng stole the ball from Joe Johnson on Brooklyn's ensuing possession. Then, it was Wade's turn to create for himself. The face of the franchise forced Wayne Ellington to the ground with a killer crossover before sinking a jumper over Brook Lopez with 1:04 remaining.
The Heat held on to defeat Brooklyn 102-98 and win their second consecutive game after hitting a disheartening skid earlier this month. And just like last night in Chicago, Miami's two perennial All-Stars led the way.
Wade scored 13 of his 27 points in the final period, shooting 11-for-22 from the field, to go along with four boards, eight assists, three steals and two blocks. In the second quarter, Wade had a series of crafty drives to the basket for easy layups. These last two games, Wade has made the right call in either taking the shot or making the pass in crucial possessions. When Brooklyn cut the Heat lead to 90-89 with 3:36 left, Wade ran a pick-and-roll with Chris Bosh out of a timeout to keep the Nets at bay.
For his part, Bosh added 27 points of his own on 12-of-18 shooting from the field. At times, it appeared that Bosh and his former Toronto Raptors teammate Andrea Bargnani traded silky smooth jumpers. During one second quarter sequence, Bosh converted on three consecutive Miami possessions, capping the stretch with an and-one in the lane. While Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic both remain out, Wade and Bosh will have to carry even more of the load. It's encouraging that on both ends of this back-to-back, they did it.
Justise Winslow had another strong game off the bench, scoring 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field -- including a 3-pointer, one of only three for the Heat all game long -- and grabbing seven boards in addition to providing his usual tough defense. Winslow even brought the ball up court during a few Heat possessions, showcasing his skills as a "point forward."
Miami''s other one-and-done Duke player, Deng, added 10 points and four assists for the Heat. The Heat's starting small forward air-balled two corner 3s, but was much better from mid-range. After one of his errant attempts from the corner, Deng ran back on defense, stole the ball from Joe Johnson and earned a trip to the foul line.
Beno Udrih also had a couple plays like that -- hustling back on defense and picking up a steal after a turnover or bad shot. Udrih scored nine points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists. He provides a steady hand for the Heat offense and fills in admirably when he needs to play more minutes.
The Heat will try to win their third consecutive game Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks at 8:30.