Heat players left the AmericanAirlines Arena court late Wednesday night in a position this organization hasn’t been in since Dwyane Wade played here:
Three games above .500.
But it was hardly easy, with the Heat needing sizzling long-range shooting to edge Detroit, 111-104, move to 20-17 and stay 1.5 games behind Washington for fourth in the Eastern Conference.
Miami shot 17 for 34 from three-point range and 51 percent overall.
Wayne Ellington’s three-pointer broke a tie with 6:37 left and Miami stayed ahead thanks to a three by James Johnson, a layup from Goran Dragic and three baskets by Kelly Olynyk (including a nifty layup off an assist from Dragic to put Miami up five with 39 seconds left).
Olynyk was terrific, closing with 25 points (11 for 15 shooting), 13 rebounds and three assists. Richardson, outstanding since early December, chipped in 22 points and five assists and made five of seven threes. And Dragic posted his first double-double of the season, with 24 points and 13 assists.
Johnson, who had missed six of the previous seven games with ankle bursitis, did good work, with 16 points and four rebounds.
Hassan Whiteside was limited to seven first half minutes with foul trouble and closed with 10 points, four boards and a block. Detroit played without injured Andre Drummond.