MIAMI (AP)—They were tired from six games in nine nights, frustrated with their play and on the cusp of falling two games under .500.
Wade had 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists—plus gave a fourth-quarter pep talk as Miami rallied from a late eight-point deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 88-84 on Thursday night.
“Didn’t want to lose. Tired of losing. Ain’t used to losing,” Wade said. “We’ve got a good team. And when we were down eight, I told Udonis (Haslem) and those guys that we’re not losing this game, so do whatever we’ve got to do to win this game. And we came out with great focus.”
“I don’t know if I’m 100 percent comfortable yet playing with these guys,” Williams said. “But each game, I just try to get better.”
Yao Ming had 24 points and 14 rebounds for Houston, but scored only two points in the game’s final 20:04. Derek Anderson scored 20 points, Stromile Swift had 12 and Juwan Howard 11 for the Rockets, who’ve dropped three of four to open the season and play their next four on the road.
“The talk has got to change,” Yao said. “We need to do it for ourselves— talk the talk and walk the walk.”
The win gave Heat coach Stan Van Gundy a 3-2 lead in the sibling series against his brother, the Rockets’ Jeff Van Gundy. Neither brother had his full complement of superstars: The Heat are still without Shaquille O’Neal (sprained right ankle) and the Rockets didn’t have Tracy McGrady (strained back muscle).
Miami trailed 71-63 with 10:17 remaining, but erased the deficit with a 20-6 run over the next 9:05. Williams scored eight of those points, and his 3-pointer with 2:16 left gave the Heat an 81-77 lead. Mourning hit a jumper with 1:12 left to push the margin to six, and Miami held on.
“I thought we sucked it up and played very, very hard. … That has to be the model for us in terms of how to finish the game,” Stan Van Gundy said.
The Heat survived many stretches of offensive ineptitude. Miami had two points in the game’s first 3:42, then went scoreless for 3:26 later in the half, 2:32 to open the second half and 4:03 later in the third.
Houston scored only six points in the final 5:13 of the third, but somehow added a point to its lead over that stretch and took a 64-60 edge into the fourth. And when David Wesley, who hadn’t taken a shot in his first 13 minutes, hit his first two attempts of the fourth, the Rockets held their eight-point lead.
But Miami made nine of its final 16 shots from the floor, and escaped.
“We’re not paid to try hard,” Jeff Van Gundy said. “That should be a given. We’re paid to produce.”
Wade led all scorers with 15 first-half points, 12 in the last 5:14 to help Miami take a 48-44 lead.
An 8-0 run gave Houston a 32-28 lead with 7:13 left in the half, before James Posey—making his season debut, he’d been out with a thumb injury—hit a 3-pointer to end the Heat’s drought. And when Wade drove, attracted three defenders and found Posey for another 3-pointer with 2:49 left, Miami went up 42-38.
Wade missed his first five shots, but closed the half on a 6-for-7 spurt. Plus, he didn’t commit a single turnover until 10:09 remained in the third quarter after he had 10 in Miami’s loss at Indiana on Wednesday night.
Miami finished with 14 turnovers, one off its season-low, that gave Houston only eight points. In the Heat’s three wins, opponents have scored 37 points off turnovers; in the three losses, foes have scored 69.
“Even though it’s still early, you don’t want to start out 2-4,” Haslem said.
A block and a charge on the same play? With 5:40 left in the half, referee Kevin Fehr indicated that Swift charged into Haslem, while referee Tony Brothers said Haslem was blocking. A double foul was called, no team fouls were assessed and a jump ball gave the Rockets possession. … The cast protecting O’Neal’s injured ankle was removed before the game. … The Rockets lost Ryan Bowen in the second half with a hip and groin strain.