The Miami Heat knew what was coming from Sacramento. Eventually, they handled the Kings’ challenge.
Dwyane Wade had 30 points and 10 assists, Mario Chalmers and Chris Bosh each scored 20 points and the NBA-leading Heat stretched their winning streak to seven games with a 120-108 win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
”It was a good game for me, just trying to be aggressive and was able to get my teammates some shots,” said Wade, who shot 11 for 16 and has tied his career-best with 11 straight games of shooting 50 percent or better, matching a run from his rookie season. ”And I was also able to continue do what I’ve been doing the last couple games, just taking high-percentage shots and making them.”
LeBron James scored 18 points, Norris Cole had 12 and Udonis Haslem added 10 for Miami (26-7), which has won each of its games during this streak by at least 12 points.
Next up for Miami: The New York Knicks and Jeremy Lin come to town Thursday.
”It’s going to be fun,” James said. ”It’s going to be electrifying. . . . It could be one of the most-watched games that we’ve had in a long time.”
Isaiah Thomas scored 20 of his 24 points in the third quarter for Sacramento, which dropped its sixth straight. Marcus Thornton scored 23, Tyreke Evans finished with 21 points and 10 assists, and Jason Thompson had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings.
The Kings were without guard John Salmons, a late scratch with a sore right hip.
”You needed to play a perfect game to win this game against this team and we were pretty close to the perfect game,” Kings coach Keith Smart said. ”We had moments, but when you give up 25 points off turnovers, you’re not going to beat many teams.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he didn’t expect Sacramento to come out and play like a team with one of the NBA’s worst records, and he was right. Thompson had 10 points and six rebounds in the opening quarter and Evans’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer from near midcourt gave Sacramento a 32-26 lead after 12 minutes.
Maybe the biggest surprise of the first half was that it took Miami — a team that had led by 20 points at some time in each of its six previous outings, but never enjoyed better than an 18-point margin Tuesday — nearly a full hour after tipoff to get the highlight reels cranking.
”I don’t think we came out flat,” said Chalmers, who matched a career-best with six 3-pointers. ”I just think they knew how to get out early on us.”
Late in the second quarter, James blocked a drive by Thomas, the Heat controlled the rebound, and took off running. James got the ball to Wade, who leaped, stayed airborne long enough to draw contact from Cousins and then made an acrobatic layup while falling to the floor. The three-point play put Miami ahead 49-47 and the Heat kept the lead — such as it was — the rest of the half.
Another spectacular James-to-Wade connection helped.
Wade forced Donte Greene into a miss, and Francisco Garcia grabbed the rebound and tried to lay the ball in, all in the same motion. James blocked Garcia’s shot — the Kings wanted goaltending — and moments later threw a 70-foot chest pass to Wade for an alley-oop layup at the other end, part of a late mini-flurry that sent Miami into halftime leading 57-53.
”They played very well and they have some weapons, some young weapons on that team that you saw,” Spoelstra said.
The Heat kept the lead for the entirety of the third quarter, despite Thomas’ best efforts.
Thomas’ 20 points came in a 10-minute span of that quarter, a 5-for-6 effort from 3-point range and 5-for-5 from the foul line, the last three there coming when he was fouled by Cole while trying about a 25-footer in the final seconds of the third and getting Sacramento to 93-88.
”I’ve always been a scorer my whole life,” Thomas said. ”I score in bunches but we didn’t get the win. That’s the most important thing.”
Early in the fourth, the Heat seemed to decide enough was enough.
A 15-5 run, mostly from the Heat reserves, provided the long awaited breathing room. Cole had four points and an assist in the early stages, and after Mike Miller missed a 3-pointer, Haslem capped the flurry with a one-handed putback dunk that sent Wade running about 15 feet onto the court at the other end in celebration.
”We know teams are going to play better than they usually play against us and that’s OK,” James said. ”If it takes four quarters, which we’re capable of playing, we just continue to weather the storm and continue to do what we need to do.”
NOTES: Haslem (now with 4,549) passed Rony Seikaly (4,544) for second place on Miami’s all-time rebounding list. At his current pace, Haslem would have a chance to catch Alonzo Mourning (4,807) by the end of the season. … Thomas’ third-quarter barrage was the biggest one-quarter scoring effort by a Kings player since Kevin Martin scored 24 in the fourth against New Orleans on Feb. 23, 2009. … A number of fans chanted throughout the night that they wanted to see Jimmer Fredette in the game. Fredette did not play. … Boxer Floyd Mayweather was in attendance, seated near the Kings’ bench.