By Ben Golliver
Heat forward LeBron James made a game-winning lay-up with 3.2 seconds remaining to beat the Magic 97-96 on Wednesday night, extending Miami's franchise-record winning streak to 16 consecutive games.
After trailing 93-89 with 4:30 remaining, James' basket completed an 8-3 closing run for Miami. With 10 seconds remaining and the Heat trailing by one, James operated one-on-one against DeQuan Jones outside the three-point arc, milking the clock. With six seconds remaining, James crossed over from right to left, gathering speed as he turned the corner on Jones and headed into the paint. Two Magic help defenders waved at him as he glided toward the basket, but no one offered stiff resistance or true rim protection, and he was able to loft up a lefty layup off the backboard, around the rim and in.
Orlando then rushed the ball up the court. Arron Afflalo launched a prayer that never had a chance and the game was over.
James finished with a game-high 26 points (on 7-for-14 shooting), three rebounds and two assists in a relatively quiet night, at least by his MVP standards. Dwyane Wade added 24 points (on 10-for-16 shooting), six rebounds, three assists and four steals. Nikola Vucevic paced the Magic with 25 points (on 11-for-16 shooting), 21 rebounds and four assists.
Miami, the East's No. 1 seed, improved to 45-14. Orlando dropped to 17-45, the second-worst record in the league.