Heat march past Magic to extend win streak
ORLANDO, Florida (AFP) –
The Miami Heat edged closer to the Los Angeles Lakers’ longest win streak in NBA history, beating Orlando 108-94 behind a 24-point effort from LeBron James.
“I just try to be complete and do little bit of everything; rebound, pass and score,” James said. “Winning is all that matters.”
James also had 11 assists and nine rebounds for the Heat who claimed their 27th consecutive victory as they home in on the 33-game winning streak set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who had Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West on the team.
This year’s scorching-hot Heat team features all-stars James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The team however had to do without Wade on Monday, who missed his second-consecutive game with a sore right knee.
First-place Miami are just six victories away from tying the Lakers, and haven’t tasted defeat since February 1 on the road against the Indiana Pacers.
The dominant win over the Magic kicked off a four-game road trip for Miami, who have won 13 in a row as the visitors. On the upcoming road swing the Heat will also travel to Chicago, New Orleans and San Antonio, where they will face the mighty Spurs on Sunday. Wade is hoping to return for Wednesday’s game against Chicago.
“We’ve been playing in a lot of competitive games over this streak so we’re look forward to playing in Chicago against a very well-coached team. We will be ready for them,” James said.
Tobias Harris finished with a team-high 20 points for the short-handed Magic who have lost seven-straight games.
Miami’s dynamic win streak was almost snapped by Orlando on March 6. But after tying the game briefly, 68-68, in the third they let Miami go on a 10-0 run and never threatened after that.
They carried a 78-68 lead into the fourth and led by as much as 20 in the quarter.
Miami trailed 34-28 early in the second quarter after two straight three pointers from Moe Harkless and Tobias Harris.
But James led the charge as the Heat stormed back to take a 55-46 edge at halftime.
Orlando has now lost nine of their last 10 games as they had to play without centre Nikola Vucevic after he was scratched with a concussion and a virus.
Vucevic is averaging 12.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.