NBA: Wade makes clutch free throws as Heat beat Thunder

LOS ANGELES – Guard Dwyane Wade rattled in two game-winning free throws with 1.5 seconds left to lift the Miami Heat to a 97-95 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.

”He somehow found daylight,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Wade’s drive to the basket that drew a foul on forward Serge Ibaka. ”I’m surprised he found energy to jump.”

”Dwyane is a proven Hall of Fame talent, particularly in the fourth quarter. He’s going to have the courage to make plays.”

Thunder coach Billy Donovan also praised Wade.

”It was actually good defence by Serge,” Donovan said, ”but Wade did a great job of drawing contact.”

Wade scored Miami’s final eight points en route to a total of 28 to overshadow guard Russell Westbrook and forward Kevin Durant, each of whom had 25 points for the Thunder at Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena.

NBA Southern Division leaders Miami improved to 11-6 ahead of Saturday’s home game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Oklahoma City, leading the Northwest Division, dropped to 11-8.

Durant got into foul trouble early and then was hit with a technical foul in the second quarter when he got into an exchange with Heat guard Goran Dragic. Durant, who was attempting an alley-oop dunk on the play, was upset that Dragic bumped him as he sailed by.

Heat centre Hassan Whiteside tallied 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. He had a spectacular end-to-end sequence in the second quarter, scoring on an alley-oop dunk and then blocking a Durant layup despite trailing the play on a fast break.

Elsewhere, guard Will Barton scored 22 points, forward Danilo Gallinari added 21, and the Denver Nuggets held on to defeat the Toronto Raptors 106-105 to end an eight-game losing streak.

Forward Darrell Arthur added 19 points for the Nuggets, while centre Joffrey Lauvergne scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Guard Randy Foye added 12 points for Denver.

In Salt Lake City, forward Tobias Harris led six players in double figures and the Orlando Magic took advantage of centre Rudy Gobert’s absence to beat the Utah Jazz 103-94. (AFP)