Whether on the road against a slumping Orlando Magic team or at home against a Dallas Mavericks team struggling to find its way, it hasn't been easy lately for the Miami Heat.
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MIAMI -- Whether on the road against a slumping Orlando Magic team or at home against a Dallas Mavericks team struggling to find its way, it hasn't been easy lately for the Miami Heat.
And it has required extra time each time.
But they have found a way, which still beats the alternative.
Two nights after surviving in overtime in Orlando, the Heat again had to go to extended lengths to vanquish a lesser opponent, this time holding on for a 119-109 overtime victory Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
"You figure out a way to win games, no matter what it takes," forward LeBron James said after closing with 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. "I don't look at is as playing with fire."
It wasn't easy and again not only took just about the best of James but also 27 points from Dwyane Wade, 17 from Chris Bosh and 15 from Ray Allen.
The Heat rallied from six down with just over three minutes to play.
Wade said it is encouraging to know the Heat have an extra gear for such situations.
"Obviously we have it," he said. "But every night it's not going to be there and we know it. But it's good to go to it when we need it."
This time they needed it.
"We know we can do it," Bosh said. "It starts right there."
Ultimately, there was enough to overcome 30 points from Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo and 19 from Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki, who only now is regaining his stride and playing time from offseason knee surgery, and whose short jumper sent the game into overtime.
The victory allowed the Heat to sweep the two-game season series from the Mavericks, who were without Nowitzki in the first meeting two weeks ago in Dallas.
"There's something between Dallas and Miami. We enjoy it," Wade said, with the Heat winning the 2006 NBA Finals against the Mavericks and then losing the 2011 NBA Finals to Dallas.
Wednesday's loss dropped Dallas to 0-6 in overtime this season, with losses in their last nine overtime games dating to last season.
"This is a perfect example of a team's record . . . not at all being indicative of what a team is," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "That's a very good basketball team that just needs a bit of time."
The Heat opened the scoring in overtime with an Allen 3-pointer that gave them a 106-103 lead, with James following with a short bank shot for a 108-103 edge. Wade then poked free a pass by Vince Carter and converted on the steal and go with a dunk and a 110-103 lead.
Wade's play was similar to a clinching late-game steal he made in Monday's victory in Orlando.
"I just made another read," he said. "I knew I had a pretty good break on the ball."
After a pair of free throws by former Heat forward Shawn Marion, Heat forward Shane Battier followed with another 3-pointer for a 113-105 lead, with Mayo responding with a 3-pointer for Dallas.
The Heat held on from there to improve to 15-2 at home.
"We just made a few more plays going down the stretch," Spoelstra said. "And it was good to see us respond on both ends of the court in the last few minutes.
"It's not as if we were letting them score."
James continued his run of 20-point games, now with 20 or more in each of the season's first 30 games, the second longest such streak since the ABA-NBA merger, with only George Gervin's 45 game run in 1981-82 longer. James has scored 20 or more in 51 games in a row dating to last season, when including playoffs.
"LeBron was really digging deep, showing his world-class conditioning, guarding all five positions," Spoelstra said.
The Mavericks forced overtime in a wild sequence that had Battier hitting a corner 3-pointer to put the Heat up 103-101 and then Dallas, playing without a timeout, coming back on the other end with a 14-foot trademark fade-back jumper from Nowitzki.
Regulation ended when James was off with a jumper.
Once again, rebounding was an issue, with Dallas holding a 19-11 edge at the end of the first quarter, including six by center Chris Kaman.
The struggles continued early in the second period, before an aggressive defensive approach forced Mavericks turnovers and the Heat were able to get out in transition.
Behind 16 first-half points from James, the Heat went into halftime within 52-50, closing within 47-46 on the board.
The Heat entered coming off a 2-2 road trip, with this opening a three-game homestand, which will be followed by a six-game trip.
Dallas entered on the second night of a back-to-back, coming off a Tuesday victory in Washington.
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