Miami, FL – LeBron James poured in 34 points, dished out 10 assists and pulled down seven rebounds, as the Heat held off Oklahoma City, 98-93, in a battle of NBA powerhouses.
Dwyane Wade returned after sitting out one game with a sore left knee and provided 19 points for Miami, which won its 17th straight at home, one off a franchise record. Chris Bosh hit a key jumper with nearly a minute left and Wade sealed the triumph by sinking two free throws with 12.3 seconds left.
Miami, which is an NBA-best 23-2 at home and hasn't lost at American Airlines Arena since Jan. 22 against Milwaukee, moved within two games of Chicago for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Kevin Durant had 30 points, but accounted for nine of the 20 Oklahoma City turnovers. He also missed a potential tying three-point shot in the final half-minute.
Russell Westbrook added 28 points for the Thunder, whose lead in the Western Conference is down to a game over San Antonio. The Spurs won at Boston Wednesday night.
James Harden was the only other double-digit scorer with 12 points for the Thunder, who have lost back-to-back contests for just the second time all season.
There were some shifts of momentum in the final quarter, but in the final minute Miami was able to connect from the charity stripe, while Kendrick Perkins missed a pair of crucial foul shots.
Bosh's jumper from the right wing made it 96-93 with 1:02 left.
Perkins was then fouled on a layup try off an inbounds pass, but the veteran missed both attempts with 43.6 seconds remaining. Up to that point, the Thunder had made all 18 of their free throws in the game.
James, coming off a season-high 41 points in a 99-93 playoff-clinching home win over Philadelphia Tuesday, couldn't hit a fadeaway shot from the left wing, and the Thunder gained possession when the ball deflected out of bounds.
Durant was well off the mark on his three-point try, and Westbrook lost the ball out of bounds. Wade then made it 15 straight made free throws for the Heat by draining a pair.
Oklahoma City's Thabo Sefolosha couldn't hit a three-point try as time wound down.
Durant scored 11 in the opening quarter, helping his team to a 23-21 edge after 12 minutes. The Northwest Division leaders were in front as many as 11 in the second, but the Heat rallied and went ahead 50-49 at the break thanks to James hitting a straight-away jumper just inside the arc at the buzzer.
It was during that quarter when Westbrook pulled James to the ground as the perennial All-Star drove to the basket. It resulted in a flagrant foul, type 1.
The Heat led by as many as nine in the third and took an 80-73 cushion into the fourth, but the Thunder scored the first eight of the last period.
Miami's longest home winning streak is 18 set from Jan. 23- April 5, 2005...Miami was 26-of-29 at the foul line...Miami's Mario Chalmers had 13 points, one more than Bosh...James also had four steals.