By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer
MIAMI (AP) — Rookies Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson are acclimating just fine to their first NBA playoff push.
Winslow scored a season-high 20 points, Richardson added 17 — and pulled off a dazzling sequence in the fourth quarter — and the Miami Heat held off the Denver Nuggets 124-119 on Monday night.
Dwyane Wade scored 19 points and Joe Johnson added 18 for the Heat. Hassan Whiteside finished with another double-double off the bench, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and adding 10 rebounds.
"We won tonight, but shootouts, that’s not our identity," Winslow said. "It took us a while to wake up, but we got the stops we needed to do and came out with the (win)."
Kenneth Faried matched the best single-game shooting effort in the NBA this season, going 11 for 11 and finishing with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Emmanuel Mudiay had 23 points and 10 assists for Denver, which had its four-game winning streak snapped.
Faried’s 11 for 11 matched Oklahoma City’s Enes Kanter for the best night from the floor this season. It also was the best regular-season shooting night in AmericanAirlines Arena history, topping the 10 for 10 by Tyson Chandler in 2008.
Gary Harris finished with 18 for Denver.
The Nuggets had a chance to tie the game with 4:15 left after a Heat turnover, but Richardson snuffed that out. He chased down D.J. Augustin to get a block at the rim, Winslow grabbed the rebound and the ball found its way back to Richardson — who set up Johnson for a 3-pointer that gave the Heat a much-needed bit of breathing room.
Miami’s lead wouldn’t be less than three again, and the Heat moved within a half-game of Boston for No. 3 in the Eastern Conference.
Faried made all six of his shots in the first quarter, then went 3 for 3 in the second and made his lone attempt of the third quarter to get to 10 for 10 going into the final 12 minutes.
Denver led by seven late in the third, before Miami used a 21-8 run over a span of about 5 minutes to go up 103-97. That’s when Faried came back in and got to 11 for 11 on a tip-in to end the Heat run, but he didn’t get another shot.
Nuggets: Denver signed forward Axel Toupane to a second 10-day contract. … The Nuggets were bidding for their first five-game winning streak since Jan. 3-14, 2015. … Faried’s previous best for makes in a game without a miss was a 7-for-7 effort on Nov. 23, 2013, against Dallas.
Heat: Luol Deng scored 17 for Miami. … Wade is now 24 points shy of 20,000 for his career. … The Heat reached 100 points for the eighth consecutive game. … Winslow’s previous high for points was 15, reached against Indiana on Feb. 22.
Chris Bosh was back with the Heat on Monday night, his first time visibly around the club since he was sidelined by a blood clot in his leg last month. Bosh sat near the end of the Heat bench. He’s been at home games throughout his absence, but only watching from the team-only areas until now. There’s no known timetable for Bosh’s return to play.
Mike Miller is going to have three homecomings in a five-game road trip. Denver’s last East Coast jaunt of the season takes the Nuggets to Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte and Cleveland — and Miller has called three of those cities home. He was drafted by Orlando, became a champion in Miami and spent last season in Cleveland. Miller, by the way, is on pace to be the first player in NBA history to play at least 40 games and shoot zero free throws in a season.
Nuggets: Visit Orlando on Tuesday.
Heat: Host Charlotte on Thursday.
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