HOUSTON -- Dwyane Wade left Houston with a bloody lip and a new season high in points.
Houston point guard Aaron Brooks smacked Wade in the face on a fast break early in the fourth quarter, and Wade crumpled to the floor. He stayed face-down on the floor for several seconds, but eventually got up and walked to bench with a towel covering a cut on his upper lip.
He needed stitches to close the cut after the game, but didn't seem angry with Brooks.
"It doesn't feel that nice, but it's just a part of the game and hard fouls are a part of basketball," Wade said. "Unfortunately, I had to get stitches, but it's fine.
"You've got to know the player," Wade said, "and Aaron Brooks is a good guy and not a dirty player."
Brooks was whistled for a flagrant foul and hoped to avoid a fine from the NBA.
"Stuff like that happens," Brooks said. "I'm not a vicious player, I wasn't trying to hurt him. It was a bad attempt at the ball - but it was definitely an attempt at the ball.
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"He's got a bloody lip, but that's basketball," Brooks said. "We all have bloody lips, at times."
Wade played the final 10 minutes with a bandage covering the cut, and it didn't faze him at all.
About two minutes after the hit, Wade drove into Brad Miller, hit an awkward layup and converted another three-point play to push the Heat's lead to 100-93.
"For the majority of athletes, when they get angry, they lose their focus, composure and poise," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "But he's one of the few that the exact opposite happens. He was angry after that hit, and he was bleeding. But you could see, after that point, an absolute laser focus and poise, and he didn't let his anger get the best of him."
Wade hit 17 of 24 shots, went 10 for 10 from the free-throw line and pulled down seven rebounds one night after scoring 40 points in a 106-98 win over the New York Knicks.
He reached 45 points for the eighth time, and hit 40 points on consecutive nights for the first time in his career.
The Heat have won 16 of their past 17 overall. The Rockets were the first opponent to reach 100 points in that span.
"We're just a different team now," James said. "We go out and understand that no matter what the course of the game may bring, we can always will ourselves to win, get enough stops, and make enough plays to win a basketball game."
"We weren't as sharp as we wanted to be," Martin said. "But we got beat by five points by a pretty good team. It was a good test of where we're at right now and we are still confident."
Houston closed the deficit to four with about six minutes left, but Mario Chalmers made a 3 and James hit a pull-up jumper to extend the lead again.
Wade then swatted the ball away from Scola, and finished a fast break with a layup to reach 40 points for the second straight game. He slipped past Scola for another layup on the Heat's next trip, got fouled by Jordan Hill and hit the free throw for a 115-105 lead.
Joel Anthony clinched it for Miami with four free throws in the final 34 seconds.
Miami shot 58 percent from the field (43 of 74), but couldn't shake the Rockets, who scored 62 points in the first half, a season high for a Miami opponent.
"This was a tough game for us," Wade said. "We gave up 119 points, and that's not Miami ball. Houston played unbelievable."
Wade scored 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting in the quarter, and Miami led 35-28. James had only six points in the first quarter, but had six assists.
With James and Wade on the bench, Houston scored on its first four possessions of the second quarter to pull even at 37. Bosh scored the next five points to move Miami ahead again.
Brooks set a fast tempo and the Rockets scored 34 points in the second quarter to take a 62-59 lead to the break. Brooks had 12 points and five assists in the half, and Chuck Hayes added nine points with six rebounds.
Lowry and Martin opened the second half with 3-pointers to stretch Houston's lead to seven. The Rockets hit 7 of their first 11 shots out of halftime and hit 80 points with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third. The Heat came in giving up only 91 points per game.
James swished a pair of jumpers and James Jones hit a pull-up 3-pointer during a 14-4 Miami spurt and the Heat surged to an 88-84 lead. Miami hit 12 of 18 shots in the third quarter.
|Dwyane Wade reaches 45 points and hits 40 points on consecutive nights for the first time in his career. (AP)|
|Miami (25-9) «||35||24||29||37||125|
|MIA:D. Wade 45 Pts
MIA:D. Wade 7 Reb
MIA:L. James 9 Ast
|HOU:L. Scola 22 Pts
HOU:C. Hayes 8 Reb
HOU:A. Brooks 9 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|C. Bosh, PF||39||8-14||5-6||4||2||3||21|
|L. James, SF||39||8-15||4-4||6||9||3||20|
|D. Wade, SG||38||17-24||10-10||7||1||3||45|
|C. Arroyo, PG||24||3-5||3-3||1||3||3||11|
|Z. Ilgauskas, C||19||3-7||1-1||5||0||3||7|
|M. Chalmers, PG||24||1-2||5-5||3||4||4||8|
|J. Anthony, C||22||0-0||4-6||7||0||4||4|
|J. Jones, SF||12||1-3||0-0||2||1||2||3|
|J. Howard, PF||9||0-1||2-2||4||0||0||2|
|E. Dampier, C||7||1-1||0-0||0||0||1||2|
|M. Miller, SF||7||1-2||0-0||1||0||0||2|
|E. House, SG||Did Not Play|
|J. Magloire, C||Did Not Play|
|U. Haslem, PF||Did Not Play|
|D. Pittman, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|S. Battier, SF||34||2-9||0-0||2||4||0||5|
|K. Martin, SG||32||7-16||6-10||2||0||1||21|
|L. Scola, PF||31||10-20||2-2||5||1||2||22|
|C. Hayes, PF||25||3-6||7-8||8||3||3||13|
|K. Lowry, PG||24||3-6||2-4||7||7||5||11|
|A. Brooks, PG||26||6-13||8-8||2||9||4||20|
|J. Hill, PF||21||3-7||0-0||7||0||2||6|
|B. Miller, C||17||1-5||5-6||3||3||3||8|
|C. Budinger, SF||16||4-8||0-0||5||1||2||11|
|C. Lee, SG||15||0-3||2-2||3||1||1||2|
|J. Jeffries, PF||Did Not Play|
|Y. Ming, C||Did Not Play|
|T. Williams, SG||Did Not Play|
|P. Patterson, PF||Did Not Play|
|I. Smith, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|