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Heat 97, Magic 96

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MIAMI -- LeBron James scored the winning basket with four seconds left, leading the Miami Heat to a franchise-record 16th consecutive win, 97-96 over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Heat called timeout with 12.6 seconds left to set up the final play. James drove to the rim and scored on a left-handed layup. The Magic, out of timeouts, missed on a half-court shot at the buzzer.

Orlando, which rallied from a 20-point, second-half deficit, was led by center Nikola Vucevic, who had 25 points and 21 rebounds.

James topped the Heat (45-14) with 26 points. Dwyane Wade had 24 points for Miami, and Chris Bosh added 17.

The Magic (17-45) made its move in the third quarter and finally pulled even with the Heat, 79-79, with 10:14 left in the game.

With 2:14 left, Tobias Harris gave Orlando a 94-93 lead with one of two free throws. Jameer Nelson hit a jumper over Bosh to make it 96-93 with 1:30 left.

James missed a pair of 3-point tries that could have tied the score. Harris then made a baseline floater, but it was wiped out due to a dubious offensive-foul call.

Bosh made two free throws to cut the lead to 96-95. After an Al Harrington miss, James provided the final dramatics.

It was the fifth time during the winning streak that the Heat prevailed by six points or fewer. The streak includes road victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls and home decisions over the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.

The Heat led 55-40 at halftime, shooting 51.3 percent over the first two quarters. Miami also held Orlando to 40.5 percent from the floor.

Miami closed out the first quarter with a 7-0 run. The Heat closed out the second quarter on a 14-5 roll.

Miami finished with a 43.2 percent success rate from the field, slightly worse than Orlando's 44.9 percent shooting. The Magic also outrebounded the Heat 45-33, but Miami held a big edge at the foul line. The Heat went 27-for-31 on foul shots, while Orlando was 10-for-12.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game that he had yet to address the winning streak with his players.

"That's what makes discussing it with (the media) awkward," the coach said. "I don't want our guys focusing on the record, even though it's a great thing for our franchise."

NOTES: Before the game, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn talked about the recently acquired Harris. "He's been a welcome addition," Vaughn said. "He's a versatile player who can guard several positions." ... Spoelstra on bringing Juwan Howard back to his roster: "It felt a little strange with him not here. He brings veteran leadership and championship pedigree. He's respected by the guys and kept in shape. We feel he's an important piece for us down the stretch." Howard, though, was inactive Wednesday, along with teammate Jarvis Varnado and Orlando's Glen Davis. ... The last time the teams met was on New Year's Eve, when the Heat prevailed 112-110 in overtime. Vucevic set a franchise record with 29 rebounds. ... Wednesday's game was the start of a four-game homestand for the Heat, the highlight of which will come Sunday against the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are 2-0 vs. the Heat, but this will be their first trip to Miami this season. ... Indiana plays at Orlando on Friday. ... The Heat and Magic are both Florida teams, but they're not really rivals. They have little shared history in terms of significant games against each other, and the Heat is significantly better than the Magic right now.
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