Miami's winning streak was in danger of disappearing — in Cleveland, of all places. But LeBron James wouldn't give up. "That guy right there...
CLEVELAND — Miami’s winning streak was in danger of disappearing — in Cleveland, of all places.
But LeBron James wouldn’t give up.
“That guy right there doesn’t want to lose in this building,” teammate Dwyane Wade said, nodding toward James, who left many angry Cavaliers fans behind when he bolted for Miami as a free agent three years ago. “Not tonight.”
James scored 25 points as the Heat overcame a 27-point deficit in the third quarter and won its 24th straight game, 98-95 over the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night to extend the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.
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The Heat is within nine games of matching the record of 33 consecutive wins held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. Once believed to be untouchable, the mark is now within reach.
James and his teammates have insisted the record isn’t one of their goals, and for more than 30 minutes the defending champions seemed disinterested and on the verge of losing for the first time since Feb. 1. Miami trailed 67-40 with 7:44 left in the third quarter.
But behind the irrepressible James, who added 12 rebounds and 10 assists in 42 minutes, the Heat inched closer to history and matched the NBA’s biggest comeback this season.
“This was one of the most bizarre, unique days of my life with everything that happened,” said James, referring to a homecoming in which a fan ran onto the floor and the start was delayed 35 minutes by a leaky scoreboard. “It also was one of the best comebacks I’ve ever been a part of.”
James had 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in the fourth as Miami rallied to win for the second game in a row. The Heat was down 17 points — 13 in the fourth quarter — and stormed back to beat Boston 105-103 on Monday to surpass the 2007-08 Houston Rockets for the second-longest streak in NBA history.
Although the Cavs were missing All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao — their top three scorers — they pushed Miami to the limit.
It wasn’t until James, playing his fourth game back in Cleveland since leaving, made two free throws with 4.7 seconds left that Miami could relax, but just a little. The Cavs had one last chance to tie it, but C.J. Miles was long with a three-pointer in the final second.
• Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points to lead the host New York Knicks over the Orlando Magic 106-94 after missing the previous three games with a knee injury.
• Marc Gasol tipped in Zach Randolph’s miss with less than a second left in overtime, lifting the host Memphis Grizzlies to a 90-89 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
|Heat is on|
|Longest win streaks in NBA history|