With a big finish from LeBron James, the Miami Heat wave is still blistering, barely.
James drove across the lane for the game-winning left-handed layup with 3.2 seconds remaining, and the Heat extended its franchise-record winning streak to 16 games, after escaping the visiting upset-minded Orlando Magic 97-96 on Wednesday night.
“I wanted to be patient and see if I could penetrate to the hole and finish,” said James, who netted a game-high 26 points. “I did.”
The Heat moved within a victory of matching the LA Clippers for the league’s longest win streak of the season, but that’s not on the collective minds of the defending NBA champions.
“We hear about it because we’re sports fans but we really don’t get caught up in the streak,” James explained. “What we’re trying to do is bigger than the streak. We’re trying to build and win a championship.”
Dwyane Wade scored 24 points while Chris Bosh finished with 17 and 10 boards for Eastern Conference-leading Miami, which blew an early 20-point third-quarter cushion and trailed by four late in the contest before rallying to run its home-winning streak to 12.
“I don’t know how it happened, one minute we’re up 20, the next minute we’re not,” Wade said. “But it’s about getting W’s and we found a way.”
Montenegrin Nikola Vucevic wasted a sparkling 25-point, 21-rebound effort, while Jameer Nelson had 16 points and 14 assists in Orlando’s 21st loss in the last 24 games.
lMemphis Grizzlies 91, Portland Trail Blazers 85: Spaniard Marc Gasol had 23 points with 12 rebounds, and the Grizzlies rallied from 17 down for their 10th win in the last 11 games after trimming the visiting Trail Blazers, who received 20 points from Damian Lillard.
lLA Lakers 108, New Orleans Hornets 102: Playing with a sore right elbow, Kobe Bryant erupted for 13 of his 42 points during a 20-0 closing run in the final six minutes 22 seconds, and the visiting Lakers stormed from 18 back to take the sting out of the Hornets for the 10th straight time.
lNew York Knicks 87, Detroit Pistons 77: Raymond Felton dropped in seven of his 26 points in a pivotal 16-0 fourth-quarter run, Amar’e Stoudemire added 22, and the visiting Knicks minus their top scorer Carmelo Anthony because of right knee sprain, improved to 4-0 over the Pistons this season.
lAtlanta Hawks 107, Philadelphia 76ers 96: Jeff Teague had 27 points and 11 assists, Al Horford added 21 points with 12 rebounds, and the Hawks snapped a three-game slide while handing the Sixers their 11th straight road loss.
lMinnesota Timberwolves 87, Washington Wizards 82: Spaniard Ricky
Rubio had 15 with 11 assists, seven rebounds and six steals as the Timberwolves stopped a six-game skid after topping the visiting Wizards, who got a game-high 18 points from John Wall.
lToronto Raptors 98, Phoenix Suns 71: DeMar DeRozan scored 15 points, Amir Johnson added 14 and the visiting Raptors stopped a five-game skid after setting the Suns, who committed a season-high 29 turnovers.
lDallas Mavericks 112, Houston Rockets 108: German wunderkind
Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion tossed in 22 points apiece, leading the Mavericks past the visiting Rockets, who received a game-high 28 points from James Harden.
lBoston Celtics 83, Indiana Pacers 81: Kevin Garnett had 18 points, 10 rebounds and spotted Jeff Green for the game-winning layup with five-tenths of a second left to cap an 11-0 closing and the visiting Celtics beat the Pacers, who were led by Paul George’s 16 points.
lSan Antonio Spurs 101, Chicago Bulls 83: Tim Duncan had 18 points with 10 rebounds, Argentine ace Manu Ginobili added 18 with nine assists, and the Spurs improved to 2-0 since losing All-Star Tony Parker guard to an ankle sprain after blowing out the visiting Bulls.
lBrooklyn Nets 99, Charlotte Bobcats 78: Joe Johnson scored 22 points, Deron Williams added 20, and the visiting Nets outscored the league-worst Bobcats by 31 in the second half for the victory.
lLA Clippers 117, Milwaukee Bucks 101: Jamal Crawford scored 25 points, Blake Griffin had 23 with 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his third career triple-double, and the Clippers cruised to their 10th victory in 13 games while snapping the Bucks’ four-game success.
lGolden State Warriors 87, Sacramento Kings 83: Klay Thompson scored 20 points, including the go-ahead triple with 7.5 seconds left, sending the Warriors over the visiting Kings.
lCleveland Cavaliers 104, Utah Jazz 101: Kyrie Irving had 20 points with 10 assists, Wayne Ellington hit the go-ahead dunk with 56.4 seconds left, and the Cavaliers sent the visiting Jazz to their fifth loss in six games despite a game-high 25 points from Gordon Hayward.