Sports

Wade leads Heat against Nuggets

(SportsNetwork.com) - Dwyane Wade is doing his best to put the Miami Heat in the playoff mix and will lead his team into Friday's matchup with the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Arena.

The Heat are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference, 2 1/2 games behind Milwaukee and mere percentage points ahead of Indiana and Boston.

Wade has scored at least 25 points in seven straight games, averaging 29.1 points per game in that span, and rallied the Heat to a 108-104 victory Wednesday over the Portland Trail Blazers. Wade scored 15 of Miami's final 17 points and ended with 32.

Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge made two short jumpers to make it 104-102 with 52.1 seconds left. Wade responded with a pair of jumpers around a miss from Aldridge to give the Heat a two-point edge with 13.6 seconds remaining. The Blazers were then called for a backcourt violation, and Wade added two free throws to seal the victory.

"This is what I love to do," Wade said. "This is the fun part of this game. I mean, obviously the last couple years I had to do what I had to do for that team. But now for this team I get to be a little bit back to my usual self, having the ball. I'm not going to do it right every time, but I like my chances most nights."

Luol Deng made four 3-pointers en route to 24 points and Goran Dragic added 20 points and 11 assists for the Heat, winners in two straight and six of the last nine games. Miami has won three in a row at home and will close this three-game stay in south Florida Friday night.

Miami, which has a 16-18 home record, will play its next four games on the road against Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, Boston and Atlanta.

The Nuggets have lost two straight following a four-game winning streak and are 1-2 on a five-game road trip.

Denver dropped a 118-108 decision to James Harden and the Houston Rockets Thursday, as Harden poured in a career-high 50 points on 12-of-27 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds. Harden also made 22-of-25 free throws.

"He did an unbelievable job of creating and also getting to the free throw line," Nuggets guard Randy Foye said of Harden.

Foye and Wilson Chandler paced the visitors with 23 points apiece and Kenneth Faried chipped in 19 points and 12 rebounds.

The Nuggets are 10-24 as the guest and will close the trek Sunday in Orlando.

Denver had an easy time with Miami in the Rockies on Dec. 10, posting a 102-82 victory thanks to Chandler's 17 points and eight boards. Wade managed 10 points in that one for the Heat, who have lost two in a row after winning the previous three meetings between the teams.