Heat scorch Sixers
nMiami tops Philly, 98-94, to become just the fourth team in NBA history to win 20 straight in a season. ASSOCIATED PRESS,
LeBron James scored 27 points and the Miami Heat became the fourth team to win at least 20 consecutive games in a season, rallying to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 98-94 on Wednesday night.
Dwyane Wade added 21 as the Heat needed big baskets over the final 2 minutes to top the Sixers for the milestone win.
Only three other teams have won at least 20 consecutive games in the same season: the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33), the 2007-08 Houston Rockets (22) and the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (20). The Washington Capitols also won 20 straight, spanning the end of the 1947-48 season and the start of the 1948-49 campaign.
Thaddeus Young had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Sixers.
James and the Heat have started to acknowledge just how special this winning streak is in a season that has them running away with the Eastern Conference.
They opened a five-game road trip as 8½-point favorites over the slumping Sixers, a team they've defeated three times during the streak. They beat Atlanta on Tuesday for streak win No. 19, then made the flight to Philadelphia that put them in just before dawn.
Maybe fatigue played a bit of a role in Miami's inability to truly put away the Sixers. Led by Young, the Sixers opened the third quarter on a 16-8 run that helped slice the lead to four. Miami led 71-66 at the end of the quarter.
The Sixers hung around in the fourth, too. Dorell Wright hit a 3-pointer to make it a six-point game and he followed with a steal and fast-break dunk to cut it 82-78.
Jrue Holiday brought them back with a 3-pointer for an 83-82 lead with 5:26 left and had fans chanting, "Beat the Heat!"
Ray Allen silenced them with a big 3 in front of the Sixers' bench for an 89-86 lead. Bosh scored to make it 91-89.
It wasn't enough, at least not yet. Holiday, the All-Star point guard, showed no fear of the moment when he dunked on James for the tying bucket.
James came right back made one of two free throws for a 92-91 lead. Holiday dribbled the ball into Bosh's leg, then off his own foot, leading to Wade's tip after James missed twice at the rim.
The Heat escaped with a scare -- and No. 20.
Unless they wear down, there's no reason to think the Heat can't keep the streak going toward 33. The rest of the road trip includes games at Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston and Cleveland.
James, the reigning MVP, turned the second quarter into his own dunk contest. It helped that he didn't have any competition.
With flair, James threw down thunderous dunks about every time he touched the ball. His best came on a reverse he brought between the legs that had the sellout crowd of 20,398 "Oooohhhh!" in amazement. His dunk capped a 17-2 run that put the Heat up 10 and helped them cruise toward a 51-39 halftime lead.
But the first half wasn't all about James' dazzling dunks. The Heat had 14 assists on 19 baskets and Shane Battier came off the bench to hit a pair of lead-stretching 3-pointers. It's the kind of teamwork that has the Heat rolling.
Celtics 112, Raptors 88: Kevin Garnett scored 12 points, passing Jerry West for 15th on the NBA's career scoring list, and Paul Pierce joined him among the top 20 scorers in league history with 15 points as Boston beat Toronto.
Garnett needed four points to pass West (25,192 points) and Pierce entered the game nine points shy of tying Charles Barkley (23,757) for 20th.
Hawks 96, Lakers 92: Devin Harris scored 17 points, Ivan Johnson hit a key basket and shorthanded Atlanta shook off a 20-point third quarter by Kobe Bryant, snapping a three-game losing streak with a victory over Los Angeles .
Bryant finished with 31 points, but made just 11 of 33 shots. He drove the baseline with a chance to force overtime but watched his jumper slide off the rim with 3 seconds remaining. Making matters worse, he landed on Dahntay Jones' foot and twisted his left ankle, crumpling to the court in pain.
Rockets 111, Suns 81: Donatas Motiejunas scored a career-high 19 points to lead five Houston starters in double figures as the Rockets routed Phoenix.
Pacers 107, Timberwolves 91: Roy Hibbert had a season-high 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead Indiana over Minnesota.
Wizards 106, Bucks 93: John Wall had 23 points and 10 assists to lead Washington over Milwaukee.
Thunder 110, Jazz 87: Kevin Durant scored 23 points, Russell Westbrook added 19 and Oklahoma City cruised to a victory over Utah.