James explodes in second OT as Heat edge Kings

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- For 53 minutes Tuesday, the lowly Sacramento Kings stayed even with the champion Miami Heat.

Then LeBron James took over.

James scored 11 of his game-high 40 points in the second overtime as the Heat beat the Kings 141-129 in front of 19,734 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

In a tale of teams headed in different directions, the Heat (41-14) closed out February with a franchise-best mark of 12-1, reeling off 12 consecutive victories. Miami is riding a 10-game home winning streak.

Sacramento (19-39) dropped its sixth in a row overall and ninth straight on the road.

"We won in many different ways, but we want to continue," said Dwyane Wade, who finished with a season-high 39 points as well as eight rebounds and seven assists. "This is the time of year where we have to continue to get better because other teams are doing that. We've got some tough games coming up. The schedule is challenging on us, and we can't let it go. It was a great month of February, but we want to continue going into March."

Miami's Ray Allen, who has now scored in double digits in seven straight, finished with 21 points -- 11 in the fourth quarter. Chris Andersen added 10 points off the bench, including four in the fourth.

Five players scored in double digits for the Kings, led by Marcus Thornton's 36 off the bench. Tyreke Evans scored 26 points, and DeMarcus Cousins recorded 24 points and 15 rebounds, giving him four double-doubles in his past five games.

"It was a great atmosphere," said Thornton, who connected on eight of Sacramento's 14 baskets from behind the arc. "To be able to take that team into two overtimes, it just shows the testament of us growing. A team like that -- a championship team -- they play great together. I hate losing, but it was a great effort by us tonight."

James started his surge by pulling down an offensive rebound and making a basket on the opening possession of the second OT.

After a steal by Mario Chalmers and a dunk by Wade, Thornton sank a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one. Following a Sacramento steal, Wade chased down a Thornton layup for a block, and James recorded the next seven points for Miami, including consecutive shots from behind the arc.

"I'm out there trying to make plays, and D Wade had it going, so we kind of rode his hot tail for a long time, and in the first overtime, Ray hit a couple shots and I was able to get a couple going," said James, who also collected 16 assists and eight rebounds. "Second overtime is when I really picked it up and was able to lead us offensively and took over the game."

In a back-and-forth game, there were 14 lead changes and 15 ties.

James opened the first overtime with a three-point play. Cousins countered with a basket but failed to convert on the free throw that would have finished a three-point play. Chris Bosh (15 points) scored six on a pair of free throws and two jumpers. Thornton answered with a 3-pointer, and Wade countered with a fadeaway. Isaiah Thomas connected on a 3-pointer to give the Kings a 124-123 lead.

It became a tie game at 124 when James made one of two free throws with 29.3 seconds left. Following a defensive stop and a timeout at 5.7 seconds, James' layup attempt was blocked. Following the game, James said he thought he was fouled. After a video review, it was determined that the ball went out off a Sacramento player, and Miami was awarded possession with 0.4 seconds left. Bosh missed a jumper.

Down 92-90 following Cousins' dunk in the fourth, the Heat rattled off six straight points and extended its lead to nine with 2:45 remaining.

But the Kings chipped away, and Thornton's 3-pointer made it a two-point game with 23.7 seconds to go in regulation. After Wade missed two foul shots with 20.8 seconds remaining, Cousins' put-back with 8.5 seconds tied it at 112.

"Everyone did the job necessary to give us a chance, and we had so many chances," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "I thought we could have won this game if we took care of the basketball. We made some costly turnovers, and the Miami Heat took those turnovers and put them into the basket pretty quick."

NOTES: Heat forward Shane Battier was inactive because he felt tightness in his right hamstring. Coach Erik Spoelstra said he wanted to give him the extra day of rest before Friday's matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies. ... James received his Eastern Conference Player of the Month award for January -- his third of the season -- before the game. ... Sacramento faces a quick turnaround to play the Magic in Orlando on Wednesday.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball
View Comments