Heat 113, Rockets 104

Ray Allen leads Miami Heat in win over Houston Rockets

 

Ray Allen scored 25 points and sparked a key late stretch Sunday to lead the Heat to victory and pass Allen Iverson for 21st on the NBA’s scoring list.

 
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Milestone: </span>Heat guard Ray Allen has scored 24,370 career points, two more than Allen Iverson.
Milestone: Heat guard Ray Allen has scored 24,370 career points, two more than Allen Iverson.
Hector Gabino / Staff Photo

jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com

Ray Allen walked into the Heat’s facility Saturday and took 1,000 jumpers before practice even started. One day later, he was the offensive force behind the Heat ending one of its worst losing stretches since 2010.

Allen scored a season-high 25 points in the Heat’s 113-104 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday. The win halted a slide of five losses in six games and came at an important time in the schedule. Beginning on Tuesday, six of the Heat’s next eight games are on the road.

Putting in extra work is nothing new for Allen. He has been doing it his entire career. But Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called Allen’s commitment over the weekend “leadership unto itself.”

Allen went 7 of 11 from the field and 4 of 6 from three-point range. In the last two games, he was 14 of 20 overall and 10 of 13 from three-point range. He also set a milestone, passing Allen Iverson for 21st on the NBA’s scoring list. Allen now has 24,370 points, two more than Iverson.

The Heat trailed 81-79 entering the fourth quarter, but outscored the Rockets 34-23 in the final period. Led by Allen, Miami shot 60 percent (12 of 20) from the field in the fourth quarter.

“When we’re unselfish down the stretch like that we have a great rhythm to how we run our plays,” Allen said. “I was the recipient of a lot of actions.”

Allen’s three-pointer with 2:55 to play gave the Heat a 106-102 lead and the defending back-to-back champions poured it on from there. The Heat shot 51.3 percent from the field and 40.9 percent (9 of 22) from three-point range.

The Heat (45-19) has shot at least 40 percent from three-point range in three of this month’s eight games.

“It’s a collaborative effort with shooters,” Spoelstra said. “It’s a symbiotic relationship because you have to work together to get a shooter open. They have to have a great incredible skill to get open and then being able to shoot at a high percentage, but a lot of times Ray can’t do it himself.”

Wade rises up

LeBron James had 24 points, going 8 of 17 from the field, but the game’s best performance was lilely by Dwyane Wade, who turned up the defensive pressure in the fourth quarter in addition to finishing the game with 24 points. He was 10 of 15 from the field and also had seven assists and three rebounds.

An inspired sequence by Wade tied the score at 92 with 6:57 left. He launched himself onto the court for a loose ball to force a turnover, and then raced into position offensively before converting a three-point play against Houston point guard Jeremy Lin. Wade drew a foul and then banked in a turnaround jumper over Lin.

“It is good to get out of this snap we have been in, but now we need to get back to being a little more consistent,” Wade said. “It will be about defense and our effort.”

A three-pointer by Patrick Beverley gave the Rockets a four-point lead with 4:26 left, but a delay-of-game violation following the basket put Allen at the free-throw line for an easy point. From there, the Heat outscored the Rockets 15-2 to end the game.

“Any time you get to the free-throw line it helps you get the ball in your hand, get a feel and see the ball go through the hoop,” Allen said.

Wade started the run with an eight-foot running jumper that cut the Rockets’ lead to 102-101. Allen followed with a layup and then drilled a three-pointer that blew the top off of AmericanAirlines Arena.

Earlier, Allen’s three-pointer with 6:04 to play cut the Rockets’ lead to two points. The key shot came out of a timeout and by way of a brilliant down-court pass by Wade.

Harden plays big

Before the timeout, Rockets star James Harden put his team ahead 97-92 with a three-pointer and then stomped his feet in celebration as he walked off the court.

The scene was reminiscent of the fourth quarter he had in Houston on March 4. That’s the loss that started the Heat’s losing skid.

Harden scored 30 points, but couldn’t manufacture the same magic in Miami. The Heat’s defense and its best sharpshooter, Allen, would not allow it.

On the fourth quarters during the losing streak, Allen said the Heat was “a little impatient.”

“When LeBron is going as hard as he is, there is always somebody who is open,” Allen said.

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