Heat beat Pistons for 25th straight win
MIAMI (AFP) –
The Miami Heat stretched their record win streak to 25 straight games but once again they had to dig deep in the second half to rally past a spirited opponent.
The Heat, who own the second-longest streak in National Basketball Association history, beat the Detroit Pistons 103-89 behind a game-high 29-point effort from LeBron James.
“They got us on our heels to start the game but once we got our rhythm we started to play Miami Heat basketball,” James said.
James shot 12-of-15 from the field and finished with eight rebounds and eight assists for the Heat in front of a crowd of 20,350 at American Airlines Arena. Miami now trails the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers — who hold the NBA record — by eight games for the longest winning streak ever.
Miami got off to another slow start and trailed the Pistons 54-51 at halftime. The Heat had to battle back from two big deficits in their previous two games before facing Detroit.
Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player James said he’s not worried about the slow starts because the Heat know they can always grind teams down in the fourth quarter.
“I would rather come out the way we’ve been coming out and finish strong rather than finish weak,” James said.
Dwyane Wade had 19 points and Shane Battier scored eight of his 11 points in a dominant second half by the Heat.
“We just picked it up to another level in the fourth,” James said.
On Wednesday, the Heat were down by 27 points in the third quarter to James’ former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, before storming back to pull out a 97-85 win.
“We’ve got to do a better job of getting stops in the first quarter but we are a team that just wears the other team down,” James said.
Miami beat the Boston Celtics on Monday after trailing by as many as 17, and they got off to a lethargic start against the Pistons.
Detroit shot a whopping 63.2 percent in the first quarter. They went on a 10-2 run late in the first to lead 28-20 heading into the second.
Miami turned up the firepower after halftime by forcing a half dozen turnovers in the third quarter.
Wade then scored six points during an 8-0 run that put Miami up 60-59 halfway through the third and the Heat cruised from there.
“We were flat in first half but in second half our urgency was much better,” said coach Erik Spoelstra. “In the second half I like the way we finished the game.”
The Pistons are headed in another direction. They lost for the 10th consecutive game despite a 23-point, 15-rebound performance from Greg Monroe.
Jose Calderon and Kyle Singler each finished with 18 points in the loss.
The Heat play Sunday at home against Charlotte before going on the road to face Orlando, Chicago, New Orleans and San Antonio.