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Dwyane Wade Carries Miami Heat Past Orlando Magic, 91-81

By TIM REYNOLDS 03/18/12 09:54 PM ET AP

MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, Chris Bosh added 23 points and the Miami Heat beat the Orlando Magic 91-81 on Sunday night to extend their home winning streak to 13 games.

LeBron James finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and five steals for the Heat. His pass with 3:46 left made it past two Magic defenders and set up Bosh for perhaps the clincher, a three-point play that stretched Miami's lead to 84-73.

And with the way Miami was playing defense, that was enough: Orlando scored 12 points in a span of nearly 16 minutes in the second half.

Dwight Howard finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for Orlando. Quentin Richardson was 5 for 7 on 3-pointers for a 15-point night for the Magic, who split four games with Miami this season, both teams going 2-0 at home.

The win kept Miami (33-11) one game in the loss column behind Chicago (37-10) for the NBA's best record and top Eastern Conference seed.

It was a 69-68 game before Wade made back-to-back shots to give Miami some breathing room, and the Heat never gave up control again. Wade wound up scoring 12 straight Miami points, and his assist set up Shane Battier's 3-pointer that made it 87-75 with 2 minutes left.

James reached double digits for his 400th straight regular-season game, a streak beginning Jan. 6, 2007.

Jameer Nelson scored 13 points and Jason Richardson added 12 for the Magic. After a three-game road trip last week that started by getting outrebounded by 10 in Orlando – then by 16 in Chicago and 12 in Philadelphia – the Heat outrebounded Orlando 42-36.

And they kept Howard in some sort of check: In Orlando's two wins over Miami this season, Howard averaged 24.5 points and 24.5 rebounds. In the two Heat wins, Howard averaged `only' 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Fueled by a perfect 5-for-5 start by Bosh, the Heat made 12 of 18 shots in the first quarter, running out to a 31-22 lead that had Magic coach Stan Van Gundy lamenting in a television interview between quarters that his team "didn't do anything well – nothing."

His assessment had to change from there, thanks to what Orlando started doing on the defensive end.

It took Miami the next 19-plus minutes to match what it scored in the opening 12, as the Magic steadily made what was as much as a 13-point deficit disappear. The Heat lead was only 50-47 at the break – a three-point play by Wade with inside of a minute left provided that margin – and Miami went on to miss eight straight shots early in the third quarter.

Even then, it was still nip-and-tuck, the Magic unable to take full advantage of the Heat going cold.

Jason Richardson's basket and foul with 8:26 left in the third gave Orlando what was then its biggest lead, 57-54. Then it was Orlando's turn to sputter offensively, scoring just six points in the remainder of the period, which was capped by James banking in an 18-footer with just under a second left for a 67-63 Miami lead.

Notes: Tennis star Andy Murray sat courtside. ... Bosh had 18 points at halftime, matching his second-best opening 24 minutes of the season. The Heat are now 15-2 this season when Bosh is in double digits by halftime. ... Heat assistant coach Bob McAdoo (deep vein thrombosis) and reserve center Eddy Curry (death of a grandmother) were back with the team after missing time last week. ... Nelson missed about 6 minutes in the first quarter after being inadvertently poked in the eye by Heat center Joel Anthony.

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Filed by Amanda McCorquodale  |