The Miami Heat beat Milwaukee for its 21st victory in a row and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers played 12 minutes despite an ankle injury in NBA action Friday.

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MILWAUKEE — The Miami Heat had just watched the Super Bowl when forward Shane Battier delivered a speech that left quite an impression.

Whatever he said that night in Toronto, the Heat sure took off. The team hasn’t come down yet.

LeBron James and Chris Bosh each scored 28 points, and the Heat made it 21 straight victories, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 107-94 Friday night.

Three other teams have won 20 in a row in one season, and the Heat trails just the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33 games) and the 2007-08 Houston Rockets (22) after moving ahead of the 1970-71 Bucks.

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The Heat hasn’t lost since it fell in Indiana on Feb. 1, and it returns Sunday to the place where this streak started two days later, back when Miami was a mediocre road team barely on top of the Eastern Conference standings.

“I think the biggest thing for our team was watching the Super Bowl and getting away from basketball in a sense and just enjoying each other,” Dwyane Wade said. “We got the famous speech from Shane Battier and we’ve been rolling ever since.”

What did Battier say?

“It was not so much about him,” Bosh said. “He tied in everything. He tied in life to the Super Bowl. It was just everything. It was a good time.”

It has been nothing but good times for the Heat since, although there was a scary moment for the team early in this game. That was when Wade walked to the locker room with what the team said was a neck strain after crashing to the court. The Heat overcame that and led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter.

Bryant plays

briefly for Lakers

INDIANAPOLIS — When superstar Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t be the tough guy on the court, he resorted to being an MVP coach.

After hobbling on a severely sprained left ankle for 12 minutes, Bryant retreated to the bench, where he spent the rest of the night contesting calls, waving teammates into the right spots and drawing something up on a clipboard for center Dwight Howard to see.

On a night Bryant was held scoreless for the 15th time in his 17-season pro career, Howard finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and had a tiebreaking three-point play with 90 seconds left that helped send the Lakers past Indiana 99-93.

“It really just continued to swell and I couldn’t put any weight on it, so I called it a night,” Bryant said after getting more treatment on the sore ankle in the training room. “I told them before the game, ‘I don’t know how much I have, but whatever I have, I’ll give you.’ “

Bryant, who hasn’t missed a game since the 2009-10 season, played less than 48 hours after turning his ankle when he landed on Dahntay Jones’ foot in Wednesday’s 96-92 loss in Atlanta.

Bryant was 0 for 4 from the field against the Pacers.

George Hill scored 27 points for Indiana.


Kosta Koufos contributed 18 points and 16 rebounds as Denver extended its winning streak to 11 games by beating visiting Memphis 87-80.

• James Harden had 37 points and Houston rallied from 20 points down in the third quarter to beat visiting Minnesota 108-100.

John Wall scored a season-high 29 points on 12-for-15 shooting, helping the host Washington Wizards beat New Orleans 96-87.

Luol Deng scored 23 points and ex-Washington Huskies guard Nate Robinson added 20 points and seven assists as Chicago beat host Golden State 113-95.

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