Heat 98, 76ers 94
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 host Philadelphia 76ers. 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 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 in a row, 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.
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.
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.
Hawks 96, Lakers 92
Devin Harris scored 17 points, Ivan Johnson hit a key basket and the shorthanded Atlanta Hawks shook off a 20-point third quarter by Kobe Bryant to snap a three-game losing streak.
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.
Pacers 107, Timberwolves 91
Roy Hibbert had a season-high 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead the host Indiana Pacers. Paul George had 17 points and George Hill added 16 points with six assists to help the Pacers get their second win in three games.
Ricky Rubio had 21 points and 10 assists and Luke Ridnour scored 17 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost nine of their last 11 games.
Wizards 106, Bucks 93
John Wall had 23 points and 10 assists, and the host Washington Wizards beat the Milwaukee Bucks. Wall rallied with eight fourth-quarter points to hold off the Bucks’ comeback.
Monta Ellis scored 26 points for the Bucks (32-31).
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 the host Boston Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors. Garnett needed four points to pass West (25,192 points).
Rockets 111, Suns 81
Donatas Motiejunas scored a career-high 19 points to lead five Houston starters in double figures and the Rockets routed the visiting Phoenix Suns. James Harden scored 18 for the Rockets.
Thunder 110, Jazz 87
Kevin Durant scored 23 points, Russell Westbrook added 19 and Oklahoma City improved to 25-8 at home. The Thunder led 50-28 at halftime.