EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Michael Beasley had 23 points and 11 rebounds and the Miami Heat overcame the early loss of All-Star MVP Dwyane Wade in beating the New Jersey Nets 87-84 on Wednesday night for their season-high fourth straight victory.
Jermaine O'Neal, who strained his lower back in a first-quarter fall, hit three free throws and had two blocks down the stretch as the Heat used a game-closing 13-4 spurt to prevent the Nets from winning consecutive games for the first time this season.
Wade strained his left calf sometime in the opening 7:26 and did not play again. He finished with eight points, snapping his streak of 148 straight games in double figures, the second-longest active streak in the NBA behind LeBron James (255).
Quentin Richardson added 16 points — including a tying 3-pointer with 1:52 to go, and a game-high 14 rebounds for Miami.
Brook Lopez had 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, whose only basket in the final 4:56 came on a goaltending call at the buzzer. Devin Harris added 18 points.
The Nets appeared to headed for their sixth win of the season when Keyon Dooling (14 points) converted a three-point play with 4:56 to play to put them ahead 80-74.
The prospects looked even brighter when O'Neal missed two free throws on the Heat's ensuring possession.
However, the Nets went ice cold and Miami just kept on coming.
Carlos Arroyo hit a free throw with 3:49 to play to make it a five-point game and Beasley followed with a drive down the lane and a short bank shot to get the Heat within 80-79.
Harris re-established a three-point lead with two free throws with 2:12 left, but Richardson tied the game 20 seconds later with his bomb.
O'Neal put Miami ahead for good at 83-82 with 1:11 left, making the second of two free throws after blocking a Harris drive at the other end of the floor.
O'Neal combined with Beasley on the other block on Kris Humphries. The New Jersey forward went to the basket with less than 40 seconds to play. O'Neal got a piece of the shot and Beasley blocked it after it hit the backboard.
Richardson added two free throws with 23 seconds to go and O'Neal two more with 16.5 seconds to go to ice the game.
Despite the injury to Wade and the loss of O'Neal for most of the first half after a fall, the Heat held the lead from the middle of the second quarter until New Jersey scored eight straight points in a run that bridged the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth.
A dunk by Lopez and a jumper by Dooling, who opened the final quarter with a 3-point play, gave New Jersey a 73-70 lead.
NOTES: New Jersey never trailed in its win over Charlotte on Tuesday night, marking the first time that has happened on the road since March, 2007. ... Official Eric Dalen was hit in the face with a ball after a basket. ... This was the second close game between the teams. Miami won the first 81-80 on Wade's 3-pointer at the buzzer.
(This version CORRECTS Heat 87, Nets 84. SUBS 5th graf to correct Lopez's points to 26.)