MIAMI (AP) – Even a 20-point deficit doesn’t derail the Miami Heat these days.
LeBron James had 25 points and 10 assists, Dwyane Wade also scored 25 points and the Miami Heat overcame a 20-point deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors 114-107 on Saturday night for their 17th victory in 18 games.
Chris Bosh added 20 points and 11 rebounds for Miami, which pulled into a virtual tie with Boston atop the Eastern Conference. The Celtics lead Miami by .031 percentage points, but the teams are tied in the games-back column
Former Heat forward Dorell Wright scored 30 points for Golden State in his first trip back to Miami as an opponent. Monta Ellis added 25 and Stephen Curry had 15 for the Warriors.
Golden State had 36 points in each of the first two quarters, then 35 in the entire second half. Miami held the Warriors to 13-of-43 shooting after halftime.
James, Wade and Bosh combined for 35 points in the second half – matching Golden State’s total.
David Lee finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for Golden State, which hit eight of its first nine tries from 3-point range – then went 5 of 18 the rest of the way from beyond the arc. The largest lead the Warriors had blown in an eventual loss this season was nine, at Detroit on Nov. 7.
And Wright made this one plenty interesting down the stretch. He connected on his sixth 3-pointer with 5:18 left, then hit a high-arcing layup over Joel Anthony to draw the Warriors within 100-96 a minute later.
It was the last gasp of the upset bid.
After Bosh kept a play alive with his team-best third offensive rebound of the night, Mario Chalmers made a 3-pointer from the right wing, James then hit a pair of free throws with 3:14 left, and the Heat cushion was quickly back to 105-96.
In six years with the Heat before accepting an $11 million, three-year offer from Golden State this summer, Wright reached 14 points only 11 times in home games.
So of course, in his return, he had that many in the opening quarter.
Wright may have been the catalyst of a surprising start by the Warriors, though hardly the only contributor. Ellis and Lee combined for 27 points by halftime as well, further frustrating Miami.
Almost proving everything was going the Warriors’ way, Ellis banked one in from half-court at the first-quarter horn, and Golden State – buoyed by a 6-for-7 effort from 3-point range – held a 36-28 lead, the most points Miami yielded in a first quarter this season.
It was exactly what Heat coach Erik Spoelstra feared would happen against a high-octane offense. Miami allowed 58 points in the second half against the Knicks on Tuesday, then gave up 119 points the following night in Houston.
Though Miami won both games, Spoelstra ran the Heat through what he called a “training-camp-style” practice on Friday, focusing mostly on defense. The Heat may have been bracing for another of those workouts, since Golden State’s offensive onslaught didn’t stop in the second quarter, either.
Golden State romped to another 36-point period, held 20-point leads on four separate occasions – matching the biggest deficit Miami faced all season – and gave up the final six points of the half to take a 72-58 lead into intermission.
It all changed in the third quarter.
Miami forced Golden State into missing its first nine shots, started the half on a game-changing 15-3 run and wound up holding the Warriors to just 12 points in the period on 5 for 20 shooting. And when Bosh made two free throws for an 85-84 edge with 11:27 left to play, the Heat held their first lead since midway through the opening quarter.
Miami wouldn’t trail again.
NOTES: Wright’s high in 101 games at Miami was 26 points, and he averaged a mere 6.1 after being drafted by the Heat out of high school. … Miami moved to 6-0 against the Pacific Division. … Lee took a hard foul from Anthony in the second quarter and went to the locker room about 2 minutes before halftime, but played the second half without incident. … Heat forward Juwan Howard grabbed the 5,000th defensive rebound of his career in the third quarter. … Miami had no fouls in the first quarter.