James propels Heat to OT win at OrlandoBy The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Mon, Dec 31, 2012 9:30 PM EST
ORLANDO, Fla. -- LeBron James ended a very good year on a very good note Monday. Capping off a 2012 in which he won his first NBA title, an Olympic gold medal and the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award, James willed the Miami Heat to a 112-110 overtime victory over the Orlando Magic on New Year's Eve, scoring 10 of the Heat's 13 overtime points. James finished with 36 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds as the defending NBA champion Heat (21-8) snapped a two-game losing streak and finished a four-game road swing 2-2. He has scored 20 or more points in each of Miami's first 29 games, passing former Boston Celtics star and current Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale for the longest such streak to open a season since the NBA-ABA merger. McHale accomplished his feat in 1986-87. San Antonio Spurs legend George Gervin had a 45-game run in 1981-82. "I can't top 2012," James said. "I'd need the Olympics to be every year for that to happen. I've been fortunate enough to have some key moments in my life. I will never take the year for granted." The Heat overcame a 50-33 rebounding deficit and an 11-point third quarter deficit to hand injury-depleted Orlando (12-19) its sixth consecutive loss. J.J. Redick gave the Magic a 106-105 lead with 2:11 remaining in overtime, but Dwyane Wade, who missed his first three free-throw attempts in OT, made one to tie it at 106-106 with 1:51 left. Miami moved ahead for good on a James layup with 1:06 left that made it 108-106. Wade's dunk after an Orlando turnover with 6.2 seconds left sealed the outcome. "Whatever it takes to win, we did that," James said. "I have to try to do something. I had a couple of shots, a couple of layups, a couple of attack points that gave us some momentum. We had to figure out how to win on the road again." Chris Bosh and Wade had 22 and 21 points, respectively, for the Heat. "Our guys did not want to lose this game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The one thing I liked is that I saw an absolute competitive desperation in our guys in the fourth quarter and overtime. In a perfect world, I would've liked it where we didn't have to get pushed that far to the brink, but you saw that competitive spirit that we're so well-known for." Aaron Afflalo scored 28 points for Orlando (12-19). Nikola Vucevic had a career night with 20 points and a team-record 29 rebounds, and Reddick finished with 23 points for a Magic team that was blown out at home by 35 by the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. "We talked about character the other day at the start of practice and how times like these after the Toronto loss will challenge you with a little adversity," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We showed a lot a resolve and a lot of fight tonight." Bosh sent the game into overtime with a 16-foot jumper that made it 99-99 with 35.8 seconds left. James gave Miami a 91-89 lead on a 3-pointer with 3:36 remaining, but Vucevic answered with a jumper to tie. Afflalo then scored five of the next six points to give Orlando a 97-93 lead. A 13-0 Miami run at the outset of the fourth quarter gave the Heat a 79-77 lead on a James dunk with 9:36 to play. Miami scored the first seven points of the third quarter to take a 55-54 lead on a James jumper with 9:18 left, but Orlando responded by scoring the next eight points, then building a 77-66 lead on a Josh McRoberts layup with 51 seconds left in the period. Vucevic outrebounded the Heat by himself before halftime (16-11) as Orlando turned a 31-22 first-quarter deficit into a 54-48 lead at the break. Reddick and Vucevic each had 13 points in the opening half. McRoberts hit two free throws to give Orlando a 42-40 lead with 5:09 remaining in the second quarter. Orlando took its biggest lead of the half at 52-44 with 1:04 left on a Vucevic free throw. James had 10 points and five assists in the opening quarter for Miami. He, Bosh and Ray Allen accounted for 36 of Miami's 48 first-half points. NOTES: Orlando was missing Glen Davis (shoulder), Jameer Nelson (hip), E'Twaun Moore (elbow) and Gustavo Ayon (thigh). ... The old Magic record for rebounds in a game was 28, set by Shaquille O'Neal vs. the New Jersey Nets on Nov. 20, 1993 ... Miami forward Udonis Haslem scored two points and grabbed six rebounds in 17 minutes after missing one game with a shoulder injury. ... Miami is now 2-0 in overtime games this season ... Orlando hadn't lost six straight since Feb. 26-March 6, 2006. ... The announced crowd of 19,311 was an Orlando record.
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