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Lewis, Beasley give Heat a lift

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The Miami Heat continue to get help from, if not unexpected sources, at least different ones as the NBA season continues to roll on.

Saturday night at Orlando, it was forward Rashard Lewis stepping up with a season-high 18 points as he started for Shane Battier in the 110-94 victory over the Magic. Battier sat out the game with a sore quadriceps muscle.

Lewis hadn’t even played in the Heat’s loss to Golden State two nights earlier, but he stepped up with six field goals in 11 attempts, including three 3-pointers in six attempts from behind the arc, against his former team. (He played a little over three seasons with the Magic.)

He was on the court 31 minutes, the most time he has logged since playing 33 minutes at Charlotte back on Nov. 16.

For the season, Lewis has played in 31 of the Heat’s 33 games, averaging 4.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in just under 19 minutes an appearance.

Forward Michael Beasley, acquired in the offseason, also has been playing a key role off the bench for the Heat.

Since returning from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for seven games in December, Beasley has averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds a game while shooting 47.7 percent from the field.

He had 13 in the win over the Magic, his fifth double-digit effort in his last eight games.

For the season, Beasley is averaging 10.9 points and 4.5 rebounds a game in 20 appearances while shooting 52.8 percent from the field. He has hit half his 24 3-point attempts

With their second short jaunt up Florida’s Turnpike to Orlando out of the way, the Heat are at home for their next two games starting with a visit from Toronto, which comes in with a five-game winning streak.

The question will be if Dwyane Wade will go against the Raptors after playing 36 minutes against the Magic. Wade said his knees felt “very good,” and he looked very comfortable in scoring 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting to match Chris Bosh for team honors.

But he hasn’t played on back-to-back nights since Nov. 15 and 16 when the Heat beat Dallas at home and Charlotte on the road. He said that he will judge how he feels before the game to determine if he will play against the Raptors, but he also will “play it smart” if he needs to rest again.


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