Miami Heat vs. Denver Nuggets: Live Score, Highlights and Analysis

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2013

USA Today

The Miami Heat handed the Denver Nuggets their seventh straight loss on Monday, escaping with a 97-94 victory on LeBron James' birthday. 

James finished with a team-high 26 points and capped off a complete performance with 10 assists while hitting on a season-high five three-pointers. 

Trailing by five entering the fourth quarter, the Heat excelled down the stretch, outscoring the Nuggets by eight in the game's final frame. 

It was a particularly trying night for Miami, too, as they were forced to play the second half without Dwyane Wade and Norris Cole, each of whom was forced from the game due to injury. 

Five Miami players finished in double-figures, including Chris Bosh (17 points), Ray Allen (13 points) and Wade (12 points). However, it was Michael Beasley (nine points) who came up with a clutch three-pointer that gave the Heat a four-point lead with 30 seconds to play. 

Ty Lawson led Denver with 26 points on 8-of-15 shooting (5-of-8 from three) and seven assists, but the Nuggets simply couldn't come up with clutch buckets when the game was on the line.

Coming out of a timeout with 1.7 seconds remaining and down by three, Denver was called for a five-second violation, which handed the ball back to Miami and ended the game. 

Wilson Chandler added 13 points while J.J. Hickson posted a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. 

Next up for the Heat is a home game against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday while the Nuggets will host the Philadelphia 76ers on New Year's Day.