Heat 115, Rockets 106
Dwyane Wade believes spraining his right wrist may have actually improved his shooting.
Wade scored 37 points, his second straight big game since suffering the injury, and the Miami Heat beat the Houston Rockets 115-106 on Friday night.
Wade hurt his right wrist in Monday's loss at Utah, then scored 35 points on 10-for-15 shooting in Miami's 115-102 win over Golden State on Wednesday. He hit 15 of 24 shots and had eight assists in Houston to lead the Heat to their fourth win in 10 games.
He said the wrist is still ``very painful,'' and may not completely heal until the end of the season - and that may not be such a bad thing. The injury has forced Wade to put more arc in his shots, with effective results so far.
``It's helped me mechanically,'' Wade said. ``Normally, I'm a line-drive shooter, so I have to put the ball over the rim a little more, because I don't have the rotation and wrist that I want to (have). So I've had to shoot it a little higher and it's helped me out a little bit.''
Rafer Alston had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting against his former team and Jermaine O'Neal added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat, who snapped Houston's eight-game home winning streak.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and chief executive officer Tad Brown chatted with Alston outside the Miami locker room after the game. Houston traded Alston to Orlando last February.
``They appreciated all of my hard work and the way I played the game,'' Alston said. ``I felt very comfortable out on the court.''
Luis Scola and rookie Chase Budinger scored 17 points apiece for the Rockets, who looked sluggish after a triple-overtime win over Minnesota on Wednesday. Aaron Brooks, who scored a career-high 43 points against the Timberwolves, went 1 for 6 from 3-point range and scored 14 on Friday night.
Brooks said Wade, not fatigue, was the main reason for the loss.
``Dwyane came out and started doing his thing and pretty much started getting anything he wanted at will,'' Brooks said.
The Heat led 62-53 at halftime, then opened the third quarter with a 12-4 run. Wade flipped an alley-oop pass to Michael Beasley for a dunk and Alston hit back-to-back jumpers for a 74-57 lead.
Miami led 91-77 after three quarters, but Budinger scored the first five points of the fourth to cut Houston's deficit to nine.
Wade returned after a short rest with 10:41 left, and Miami extended the lead again. He assisted on O'Neal's short jumper, then hit an off-balance shot from the wing for a 102-86 lead.
``We stuck with it,'' Wade said. ``We did what we've been talking about - defensively, making it hard on them and offensively, moving the ball. That's the way we win ballgames.''
Wade also went 7 for 7 from the free-throw line after going 15 for 15 in Wednesday's game.
The Rockets hit nine of their first 13 shots to build an early lead. Wade scored 12 points in the first quarter and Miami cut the deficit to 29-27.
The Heat kept pace early in the second quarter with Wade and three other starters on the bench.
Udonis Haslem hit a jumper and Beasley finished a fast break with a layup to give Miami its first lead, at 41-39. Wade returned with 6:54 left in the half and made a pair of highlight-reel plays to help Miami take control.
He picked his own deflected pass out of the air with one hand and dunked with 3:22 left for a 53-44 lead. On Miami's next trip, he hit a jumper from the wing as he was fouled by Shane Battier and fell down, then finished the three-point play.
Wade scored 23 points in the half on 10-for-14 shooting.
``He could've got 50 if he wanted,'' Battier said.
NOTES: The Rockets led by 10 in the first quarter and let an opponent rally from a double-digit deficit to beat them for the ninth time this season. ... O'Neal has eight double-doubles this season. ... Quentin Richardson made a 3 with 6:15 left in the first quarter to become the 55th player to reach 1,000 3-pointers in his career. ... The Heat shot 70 percent (14 of 20) in the second quarter.