MIAMI – LeBron James set the tone pregame. Dwyane Wade took over in the fourth quarter.
And the Miami Heat got a win they desperately wanted.
Wade scored 13 of his 22 points in the final period and led a critical 12-0 run down the stretch, James led all scorers with 23 points and the Heat clinched a playoff spot by beating the Washington Wizards 99-90 on Monday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
We needed a win, Wade said. We needed this win.
Chris Bosh scored 22 for the Heat (44-17), who moved within one game of Indiana (46-17) in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and 1 1/2 games behind San Antonio (46-16) for the league’s best record. Ray Allen added 13 for Miami, which was coming off a trip where it lost at Houston, San Antonio and Chicago, the last of those coming in a late collapse on Sunday.
Wade hasn’t typically played back-to-backs this season. He did this time, and the Heat simply rolled with him in the final minutes on the way to avoiding what would have been their first four-game slide since 2011.
He made the right plays, James said.
Bradley Beal scored 18 points, Martell Webster added 17 and Drew Gooden scored 15 for the Wizards. Marcin Gortat finished with 14 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds – 10 of them in the first quarter alone.
John Wall finished with eight assists for Washington.
I’m proud of our guys, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. They kept battling, working. We didn’t shoot it the way we’re capable of. We got some good looks. We shared the ball. We attacked the whole game.
Washington led 84-83 midway through the fourth, when Wade took over.
BOBCATS 105, NUGGETS 98: In Charlotte, N.C., Al Jefferson scored 26 points and Kemba Walker added 24 as Charlotte won its seventh straight game at home.
Josh McRoberts added 15 points for Charlotte,
Ty Lawson scored 24 points to lead the Nuggets.
BUCKS 105, MAGIC 98: In Milwaukee, Brandon Knight scored 24 points and sparked Milwaukee’s rousing rally from an 18-point deficit with a dunk.
Knight confounded Orlando with a quick first step and threw down a dunk for a 74-71 lead with 10:57 left. The lead swelled to 95-81 with 2:49 left before Orlando got within three off a 3 from Jameer Nelson with 35 seconds left.
NETS 101, RAPTORS 97: In New York, Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston each scored 18 points and an ailing Paul Pierce hit a 3-pointer with 1:14 remaining to lead Brooklyn.
Kyle Lowry scored 21 points to lead Toronto, which had won nine of its previous 11.
KNICKS 123, 76ERS 110: In New York, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 28 points as New York sent Philadelphia to its 17th straight loss.
Amar’e Stoudemire added 23 points, J.R. Smith 22 and Carmelo Anthony 20 as the Knicks won their fourth game in a row.
Michael Carter-Williams recorded a triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, while Tony Wroten also had 23 points for the struggling 76ers.