Heat beat up on short-handed Rocket to end five-game skid
MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade took an elbow to the nose in the opening minutes, and the Miami Heat spent the rest of the night paying back the Houston Rockets.
Eager to snap a five-game losing streak, the Heat raced to their largest halftime lead of the season Tuesday night and beat short-handed Houston 99-66.
Wade finished with 17 points, seven assists, five steals and one sore nose. He sat out the fourth quarter and was also on the bench for a breather to start the second period, when the Heat outscored Houston 17-4 to go up 41-20.
By halftime the margin reached 56-31.
"It was a whole bunch of guys contributing on both ends of the floor," Wade said. "We were very active on the defensive end."
The Rockets played without guards Trevor Ariza (hip pointer) and Kyle Lowry (sprained left ankle).
"We caught a Houston team that was a little beat up, and that certainly was a factor," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Heat blew the game open by shooting 13-of-15 during a 9½-minute stretch in the first half.
"It seemed as if they were making every shot," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "You've got to play through that, and we didn't do that. I felt we hung our heads at the end of the second quarter."
Wade went sprawling when Chuck Hayes' elbow caught him in the nose early in the game. The Rockets were in full retreat after that.
They shot 30 percent, including 4-of-18 from 3-point range, and their point total was a season low. Aaron Brooks, who leads Houston in scoring, shot 3-of-16 and totaled 10 points.
"We knew who was the head of the snake on their team," Wade said. "We knew we had to be there when Aaron Brooks turned corners."
Luis Scola led Houston with 12 points. Chase Budinger shot 3-of-12 but had 12 rebounds.
Inconsistent Miami won by at least 30 points for the fourth time this season. Wade and Spoelstra said an energetic practice Monday set the stage to snap the losing streak.
"Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we came in with the right mindset to work and try to get better," Spoelstra said.
"When you lose five in a row in this league, guys can go the other way," Wade said.
Six players scored in double figures for the Heat, who swept the two-game season series. Udonis Haslem made seven of his first eight shots and finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Reserve Dorell Wright reached his career high in assists after 16 minutes and finished with seven to go with nine points and six rebounds.
Reserve Carlos Arroyo tied a season high with 12 points. The Heat bench totaled 48 points.
"The first team came out and established the game early," Wade said. "The second team came in and pushed the game away. If we can continue to get that energy nightly from our bench, we'll be able to win most of our games."
Miami outscored the Rockets 20-4 during one stretch in the first half when Houston missed 11 consecutive shots.
"It got away from us a little bit, and we started to hang our heads and become passive," Rockets forward Shane Battier said. "In this league, once you become passive, it's game, set and match."
The Rockets did make four 3-pointers early in the second half to cut the deficit to 17, but Wade defused the rally with two baskets. He made a steal near midcourt and drove in for a flying dunk before snaking through the defense for a finger-roll layup and a 69-46 lead.
It was the Heat's last home game for two weeks. Their next five games are on the road. ... The Heat shot 54 percent when they won at Houston on Jan. 15. ... Florida Marlins ace Josh Johnson sat in the front row, and when the scoreboard video screen showed him, he quickly put down the beer he was drinking.
Regular Season Series
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