Heat Check: LeBron’s last-second shot clangs out against Rockets

The ingredients for a clunker were there. The Miami Heat arrived in Houston during the early morning hours, immediately after an emotional victory, to play one of the Western Conference’s top teams.

After a lethargic three quarters in which they fell behind by 15 points, the Heat rallied to tie the score in the fourth quarter before losing 106-103 to the Rockets on Tuesday night.

The defeat snapped Miami’s eight-game winning streak.

LeBron James, who scored a career-high and team-record 61 points in Monday’s home win against Charlotte, had 22 points and six assists. His 3-pointer at the final horn hit off the backboard and rim before bouncing away.

James had just three points in the second half, when he shot 1 of 7.

Heat vs. Rockets

The Heat were 7 of 27 (25.9 percent) from 3-point range and 20 of 29 (69 precent) from the free-throw line — signs of players lacking leg strength on the second of back-to-back games.

Michael Beasley and Dwyane Wade each had 24 points for the Heat (43-15), who failed to move into a tie in the loss column with East-leading Indiana, who lost at home to Golden State.

Beasley scored 13 fourth-quarter points to fuel Miami’s late rally. Beasley scored 13 fourth-quarter points to fuel Miami’s late rally. He sank 9 of 13 shots overall, including 4 of 7 from long distance.

Wade, who rested his knees and did not play against the Bobcats, shot 8 of 15 and had six assists.

Center Greg Oden, another player with knees to protect, was inactive after playing Monday. Too bad, it would have been fun to see the 7-footer oppose Rockets big man Dwight Howard, if only for a few minutes.

Howard had 22 points and 16 rebounds to lead five starters who scored in double figures for the Rockets (41-19).

The Heat fell behind by 15 points with 2 minutes, 54 seconds left in the third quarter, then tied the score at 89 with 7:39 remaining in the fourth.

Cheerleader Gallery

Miami trailed 53-52 after a first half in which they never led. The Heat were 1 of 10 from 3-point range in the first 24 minutes.

THE TURNING POINT

With the score knotted at 93 with 6:11 left in the fourth quarter, Houston went on an 11-2 run that built a 104-95 advantage with 2:36 to go.

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

Rockets forward Terrence Jones finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds. He had 8 points during the final 7:24.

STAT OF THE GAME

Miami was 7 of 27 from 3-point range and 20 of 29 from the foul line. Ouch.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Heat will play the Spurs at San Antonio 8 p.m. on Thursday night.

You can follow Charlie McCarthy on Twitter @mccarthy_chas or email him at mac1763@bellsouth.net.