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(Friday, March 14th)
Final Score: Denver 111, Miami 107
Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Kenneth Faried had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way as the Denver Nuggets dealt the sputtering Miami Heat a 111-107 loss at American Airlines Arena.
Darrell Arthur added 18 points off the bench on 7-of-11 shooting to help the Nuggets record back-to-back victories for the first time since Feb. 3-5, while handing the two-time defending NBA champion Heat consecutive home losses for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
Miami, which has now dropped five of six overall, was coming off a 96-95 setback to visiting Brooklyn on Wednesday.
"We haven't been in a stretch like this since probably the 2010-11 season," said Heat guard Dwyane Wade. "When we were in that stretch, we had to figure it out. It's the same thing with this. Something is off with this team. We as a unit got to figure out what's off."
Denver's reserves outscored the Heat's by a 57-40 margin on the night, with Evan Fournier chipping in 14 points and J.J. Hickson compiling 11 points and nine rebounds.
"It was a complete team effort," Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw remarked.
Ray Allen paced Miami with 22 points while going 5-of-7 from 3-point range, with LeBron James tallying 21 points and Wade 19.
The Heat appeared on their way to reversing their recent fortunes after roaring out to a 38-24 lead with just over three minutes elapsed in the second quarter. However, Fournier dropped in eight points and Arthur five to spearhead a 22-4 run that put the Nuggets up by a 46-42 count with four minutes left in the half.
"I rolled with [the second unit] basically the whole second quarter because they had a nice rhythm going," said Shaw.
Denver owned a 58-53 advantage at the break and stretched the margin with a strong third quarter, shooting 50 percent for the period and opening it with a 10-1 spurt. The Nuggets cruised into the fourth holding an 85-71 cushion following Faried's putback slam of a Fournier miss just before the buzzer.
The Heat remained behind by double digits with less than seven minutes to go, but Allen made three straight free throws to spark a 7-0 push that cut the deficit to 94-90 at the midway mark of the final frame. It was a three-point game with 1:24 remaining after Chris Bosh threw down a dunk off a Denver turnover, following back-to-back treys from Allen and Mario Chalmers.
After Faried hit a pair of free throws, James went just 1-of-2 from the line and missed a 3-point try on Miami's next possession. The reigning league MVP did make both foul shots to pull his team within 107-104 with 17.1 seconds left, but Randy Foye and Faried combined to make four straight free throws that sealed the outcome.
Miami last lost consecutive games at home on Feb. 25 and 27, 2011, dropping verdicts to Washington and the Knicks ... Denver had lost in each of its last three visits to AmericanAirlines Arena since a 99-82 win there on Feb. 10, 2009 ... Ty Lawson finished with 13 points and nine assists for the Nuggets ... Chalmers ended with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting ... The Heat committed 20 turnovers that were converted into 22 points.
03/15 01:01:48 ET
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