LeBron James has hit a game-winning shot against the Orlando Magic before, although his three-pointer in Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals was much more impressive than his layup Wednesday night that gave the Miami Heat a 97-96 victory.
The Heat did not expect Orlando to give them problems extending their winning streak to 16 games at home, but that is exactly what happened.
A 34-point third quarter from the Magic set up an exciting finish, and the young visiting team was unable to stop James from driving to the basket and laying in the go-ahead bucket with three seconds left.
The reigning MVP finished with 26 points, but recorded just three rebounds and two assists. Dwayne Wade chipped in 24 points while Chris Bosh had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
For the Magic, Nikola Vucevic was extremely impressive with 25 points and 21 rebounds, while Jammer Nelson also had a productive night with 16 points and 14 assists.
Player of the Game: Nikola Vucevic
Yes, LeBron James led all scorers and hit a game-winning shot, but had he dominated the game like he normally does, this game would never have been this close.
Vucevic went into this game knowing that he needed to exploit Miami’s lack of size, and delivered a monster performance that included nine offensive rebounds.
The 22-year-old has been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing year for the Magic, and tonight he showed why he has a promising future in the NBA.
What’s Next for the Orlando Magic?
Orlando dropped to 17-45 after James’ game-winner, and the team will head back home to take on the Indiana Pacers on Friday.
What’s Next for the Miami Heat?
Miami improved to 45-14 on the season and will continue a four-game stint at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday as it attempts to win its 17th straight game.