LeBron shows up late as Heat beat Nets

LeBron James did what he had not done all season: show up in the fourth quarter.

And he did not just show up on Monday night, he took center stage, scoring 17 straight points in the fourth quarter to lead the struggling Miami Heat to a 101-98 win against the lowly New Jersey Nets.

James finished the game with 37 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds in a game where star shooting guard Dwyane Wade sat out with a sore left ankle. Forward Chris Bosh also played well, with 22 points and 15 rebounds on 8-16 shooting from the field, but James took the spotlight in this win.

“We know, no matter who we’re playing, if it’s in Miami or if it’s on the road, we’re going to get everybody’s best, no matter the records, no matter what’s going on,” James said of the game.

The Nets played without their star Deron Williams, who sat out with a sore right calf, and starter Gerald Wallace, who had a strained right hamstring, but still led the game for 47 minutes until LeBron scored to take the lead with 51 seconds left.

“That’s why it’s a 48-minute game and we wanted to keep plugging away until we was able to take the lead,” James said.

Chip away they did, and with an 11-2 run to close the game, LeBron James took the lead for the Heat and kept it, in a must-win game for the Heat.

The Heat were just 7-6 in their last 13 games, with those six losses coming at the hands of great teams, and the wins coming against mediocre sub-par teams.

Although the Nets, especially without two starters, are one of the worst teams in the NBA, it was an important win for a struggling Heat team.

The Heat look to extend their three-game win streak on Wednesday at home versus Toronto, while the Nets look to get a win on Wednesday at home versus the Knicks.