The Miami Heat have finally solved their woes in crunch time. All it took was Dwyane Wade stepping up and making the plays down the stretch that he used to make regularly. Wade scored or assisted on the last 10 Heat field goals as Miami held off the Los Angeles Lakers 94-88 in an outstanding game that snapped the Heat's five-game losing streak.
Wade had 20 points in the game on 23 shots, but truly came alive in the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant ended with 24 points, but fell short down the stretch trying to lead his team back. The Heat move to 44-21, while the Lakers fell to 46-20 and had their eight-game winning streak snapped.
This was truly a game won in crunch time. Bryant tied the score at 88 with 2:32 remaining on a very deep three-pointer, and down the stretch we went. The Heat missed, but then Wade made a huge defensive play, poking the wall away from Bryant and pitching ahead to James for a breakaway dunk for a 90-88 Heat lead with 1:27 to go. The Heat trapped Bryant in the corner on the ensuing possession, leading to a Ron Artest bricked three, but the Lakers maintained possession. Bryant had his shot blocked, and Artest had a point-blank layup, but he blew it. Wade then put the game away with a killer crossover on Bryant and a layup to give the Heat a four-point lead with under a minute remaining.
A Wade layup put Miami up 84-82 with 4:26 left, but Bryant gave the Lakers an 85-84 lead with a deep three-pointer from the left corner. Bosh then isolated on Gasol at the top of the key and drove right around him for a left-handed layup and an 86-85 Heat lead with three minutes remaining. Bryant missed a jumper, and Wade converted a reverse layup off an offensive rebound to push the lead to 88-85.
Bosh led the Heat with 24 points, while James added 19. Pau Gasol had 20 for the Lakers.