MIAMI -- The story of this Miami Heat season can best be summed up by the phrase of: "OK . . . now!"
This time, "now" came in the fourth quarter of Sunday night's 102-97 victory over the Toronto Raptors at AmericanAirlines Arena, when the Heat limited the Raptors to 13 points on 6-of-21 shooting over the final 12 minutes.
"We've been comfortable in these types of games," guard Dwyane Wade said.
Some would claim too comfortable. But with the victory, the Heat improved to 7-6 when they've trailed at the start of fourth quarters.
"You find a way to win," said forward LeBron James, who led the Heat with 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting.
Said center Chris Bosh, who led the Heat with 11 rebounds, "It says a lot about our character. We capitalized when we needed it."
Meandering at times, as has been the case early in so many recent games, the Heat stepped up late to make it 14 consecutive victories over Toronto, matching a similar run against the Charlotte Bobcats for their longest current winning streak against an opponent.
"We certainly had to earn it," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.
To a degree, Spoelstra had to earn it as much as anyone.
Between foul trouble and injuries, it became a game of mix-and-match, even with Wade playing both nights of a back-to-back set for the first time in more than a month.
"Tonight," Spoelstra said, "was a strange night, just in terms of all the foul trouble we were dealing with."
Early foul trouble sent Bosh and Rashard Lewis to the bench. As it was, Lewis was making his second consecutive start with Shane Battier missing his second consecutive game with a quad issue.
It got even more complex when point guard Mario Chalmers was unable to return in the second half due to Achilles tendinitis, with Norris Cole starting the third period in his place.
"It has been an ongoing situation," Chalmers said. "It started about a week ago. I have no idea how it happened. The doctors said I have to take it day by day. It just flared up."
Fortunately, not only did Wade decide to play on a second consecutive night, but reserve forward Michael Beasley stepped up with 17 points, the most by a reserve on either team.
"He's coming along," Spoelstra said. "He's gaining more confidence."
Even more encouraging was Wade being able to push through 35 minutes after playing 36 in Saturday's road victory over the Orlando Magic.
"It was awesome," Bosh said of Wade playing on consecutive nights for the first time in more than a month. "It surprised me."
Wade underwent OssaTron shock-wave knee therapy in July, a process that tends to take six months for proper regeneration.
Sunday's effort, which included 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists, appears to have Wade right on schedule.
"For him to be in the lineup shows he's feeling pretty well," James said.
Wade said what matters now is how he feels Monday.
"It felt OK for the first time," he said. "I just wanted to go out and make plays."
Said Spoelstra, "His legs were live."
The Heat led 52-51 at halftime, fell behind by nine early in the third quarter, tied it later in the period, and then went into the fourth quarter down 84-79.
The Heat opened the fourth quarter with Roger Mason Jr. at point guard, with a decision due by 5 p.m. Tuesday on whether the Heat will guarantee his contract for the balance of the season or release him. Spoelstra earlier went extended minutes with Udonis Haslem, after early foul trouble for both Bosh and backup center Chris Andersen.
Through it all, the Heat found a way, with James making three consecutive midrange jumpers midway through the fourth quarter to spark the comeback and then moving up into the power rotation to help stifle the Raptor's big men.
"We had to earn it. It wasn't pretty," Spoelstra said. "We were into the grind and stayed the course. We had just enough to finish it off."
The Heat held on even with Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan scoring 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting.
"They played like champions," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said, "and we missed a lot of easy shots that we should make."
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