Heat Reaction: Postgame grades
LeBron James 7-14 FG | 11-12 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 26 PTS | +8
Bittersweet 16. It shouldn't have been this close. LeBron helped push the Heat win streak to 16 games with a typical palette of highlight-reel flourishes, but not much else until his furious go-ahead lay-in with a few seconds left. Those hero-ball 3-pointers LeBron has managed to hit this season? They finally came back to bite him, as a couple came up empty late.
Dwyane Wade 10-16 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 24 PTS | +5
Wade has been the silent killer lately. This is no knock on Wade. He's been working in LeBron's shadow for the majority of this win streak, but that all changed Wednesday. When he has his jumper going like he did tonight, the other team has little choice but to pack up and go home. Orlando simply refused.
Chris Bosh 5-15 FG | 7-8 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | +5
When asked pregame what the Heat needed to do to prevent Nikola Vucevic from grabbing 29 rebounds again, Bosh delivered a terse response: "Box him out." If it was only that simple. Bosh still couldn't contain Vucevic on the boards. It got so bad that LeBron had to pick up Vucevic late. Two clutch free throws late salvaged Bosh's less-than-stellar outing.
Norris Cole 2-3 FG | 2-4 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | -4
Perhaps he's been reading up on ESPN.com lately. After a certain someone wrote about the Heat's struggles with Cole on the floor this season, he brought his critics to a quick hush with a couple of early 3-pointers and nifty passes in traffic. However, he undid all that positive play in the second half, as he struggled to stop the Jameer Nelson show and Erik Spoelstra was forced to pull him.
Another heroic effort from Nikola Vucevic, who had 25 points and 21 rebounds in this one before fouling out. The Magic could have used his basket protection on that LeBron game winner. Just like the last time these two teams met, Vucevic's monstrous effort somehow wasn't enough. Jameer Nelson, Tobias Harris and Vucevic played their tails off against the defending champs, but alas, Miami's win streak extends to 16 games.
Nikola Vucevic became just the third player to put up at least 20 points and 20 rebounds against the Heat twice in the same season. The other two? You might have heard of 'em: Patrick Ewing and Dwight Howard.
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