It was more of the same Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Dwight Howard got his double-double.
Dwyane Wade again played as finisher.
And the Heat won at home.
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This time, with Wade taking control in a game when LeBron James was off with his offense, the Heat extended their home winning streak to 13, with a 91-81 victory over the Orlando Magic.
While Howard closed with 18 points and 11 rebounds, it was nothing like the 24-point, 25-rebound effort he threw at the Heat in the Magic’s overtime win Tuesday in Orlando.
And while Wade didn’t match the 19-point fourth-quarter effort he threw at the Chicago Bulls in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s loss at the United Center, he scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter to allow the Heat to close the season 2-2 against the Magic, in a possible second-round playoff preview.
“Dwyane certainly made some big plays down the stretch,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Defensively he was terrific in terms of his toughness.”
Basically, Wade decided it was time to assert himself.
“My teammates did a good job of finding me in a lot of different places,” he said of his closing kick, “and I was very aggressive, as well.”
Wade said he felt that wasn’t always the case earlier.
“At times,” he said, “I wasn’t aggressive, so I wanted to get aggressive late.”
While James struggled with his offense, shooting 4 of 14 for 14 points, he grabbed 12 rebounds to help the Heat to a 42-36 edge in an area they have struggled in for weeks. He also made it 400 consecutive regular-season games scoring in double figures, as well as tying his season high with five steals.
“All of those intangibles, we needed it,” Spoelstra said of James. “We needed him to fill the box score.”
Stepping up in James’ scoring void was Heat power forward Chris Bosh, who made his first six shots and closed with 23 points and seven rebounds to break out of his recent funk.
“We’ve been trying to get him more opportunities in the paint, because we need it,” Spoelstra said of Bosh. “That’s the most important thing. But he understands it’s a symbiotic relationship.”
In essence, Spoelstra said it was because Bosh was being aggressive that he got the opportunity to be aggressive.
“He has to be big and defensively he was active,” Spoelstra said. “He was fantastic tonight.”
Bosh ended the game talking to himself, which he said was a good thing.