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Beasley looking to add to Heat’s depth

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The Miami Heat couldn’t take advantage of Indiana’s loss earlier in the evening to gain on the Pacers in the NBA’s Eastern Conference race.

But a more significant development may have come out of Tuesday’s 106-103 loss to the Rockets in Houston.

Forward Michael Beasley stepped up his game with 24 points, scoring 11 of those in the fourth quarter as the Heat sliced a 13-point deficit down to nothing before succumbing to the Rockets’ surge over the final six minutes.

Beasley was 9-of-13 shooting from the field on his way to his season scoring high, grabbing four rebounds and handing out two assists in his 28 minutes on the court.

“Stay ready and when your number’s called, produce,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said was the message for the former first-round Heat draft choice who returned to the team after signing as a free-agent in the summer. ‘Now everybody notices it when he scores, but he was doing some active things defensively on the other end.”

Beasley came into the season with the reputation of being a scorer who often freelanced to the detriment of his teammates. But that wasn’t the way against the Rockets when he became the go-to guy in the fourth quarter.
“He got us back into the game, but it wasn’t that we were just throwing him the ball and clearing out either,” Spoelstra said. “It was within the context of what we do. That’s something he can certainly build on.”

For the season, Beasley is averaging 8.8 points a game for the Heat and shooting 51.5 percent from the field overall and 45.5 (20-of-44) on 3-pointers.

Over the last seven games, he has been in double figures twice (16 vs. Golden State in addition to the 24 against the Rockets) while averaging 9.0 points per game. He has shot 56.8 percent from the field in that stretch and gone 6-of-12 on 3s.

The loss to the Rockets was the 15th of the season for the Heat, one more than the Pacers, who dropped only their fourth home game of the season when Klay Thompson hit a turnaround jumper with 0.6 seconds on the game clock to give Golden State a 98-96 victory.

The Pacers have three more wins than the Heat (46-43) as they go to Charlotte to face the Bobcats Wednesday night.

The Heat, meanwhile, are looking at the second of a three-game road trip when they play at San Antonio Thursday night (TNT, 8 p.m. ET).

Having just come off one back-to-back set -- they won at home against the Bobcats Monday night before traveling to Houston -- the Heat have yet another coming up, finishing the road trip by going to Chicago on Sunday afternoon (ABC, 1 p.m. ET) and then hosting Washington on Monday night.

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