ORLANDO -- Ray Allen had not been himself since returning to the lineup from a shoulder injury.
On Monday, the Heat’s most valuable reserve gave the team a spark and a much-needed contribution off the bench to finish a tough road trip.
Allen scored 17 points and was sharp from the field, shooting 3 of 4 from three-point range and 6 of 9 overall.
Allen also gave the Heat a lift defensively with four steals, including a pass deflection with the game tied at 106 in overtime that led to a 24-second violation by the Magic. On the next possession, the Heat took the lead for good on a drive to the basket by LeBron James.
“When a team is not going well individually, you do whatever you can to get team back on track,” Allen said. “There are moments like that when you get free throws and some layups. Routinely I know what I need to do to get back on track.”
Allen missed the Heat’s first game on the road trip against Charlotte with a shoulder injury suffered Christmas Day against Oklahoma City. Against the Pistons on Friday, Allen shot 3 of 13 from the field and finished with only nine points. He only had two points against the Bucks the following game.
The Heat’s bench only scored 20 points against Detroit and 15 against Milwaukee. On Monday against Orlando, Allen sparked a 28-point effort.
“Ray is going to keep shooting and he was big for us tonight,” Dwyane Wade said. “That’s a great lineup for us in overtime and helped us do a lot offensively and defensively as well.”
LeBron James finished the year of his life Monday night with a victory.
He also capped one of the most amazing months in league history.
With his 36 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds against the Magic, James became the first player since Larry Bird in March of 1986 to average more than 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
James averaged 27.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists in 15 games this month.
James joins Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to average such numbers in a month over the past 45 seasons.
James, the reigning league MVP, also extended his streak of scoring at least 20 points in consecutive games to open a season to 29 surpassing Kevin McHale for second on the all-time list. James trails only George Gervin’s streak of 45 games to open a season.
James extended his overall streak that began last season (including playoffs) to 50 and his regular-season franchise record to 34 games.
James said he hadn’t had much time lately to reflect on the amazing year that 2012 was where he won his first NBA title and an Olympic gold medal.
James celebrated his 28th birthday on Saturday and is in his 10th NBA season.
“I hear it and I have been fortunate to have some very key moments in my life like winning an NBA championship and winning a gold medal and being Sportsman of the Year,” James said. “I haven’t really had the time to really sit back and really look at everything I have been able to accomplish, but it has been a good year. I know that and I will never take this year for granted.”
Udonis Haslem returned to the Heat lineup Monday after missing Saturday’s game in Milwaukee with a sore shoulder. Haslem suffered the injury while colliding with a sideline photographer during the opening moments of Friday’s game against the Pistons.
Haslem played 16:58 and picked up six rebounds. He struggled on the offensive end, scoring only two points and picked up his fourth personal foul by the third quarter.
Former University of Miami standout DeQuan Jones started for the fourth time this season for the Magic on Sunday. Jones played over 23 minutes and finished with six points on 2 of 6 shooting. Jones, who went undrafted, has appeared in 18 games this season.