The Miami Heat overcame LeBron James’s lowest-scoring game in 21 months to beat the Indiana Pacers 105-91 for their 18th straight win, the longest streak in the National Basketball Association this season.
Mario Chalmers scored 26 points, Chris Bosh had 24 and Dwyane Wade added 23 yesterday to help the Heat avenge their last loss, a 102-89 defeat in Indiana on Feb. 1. The Heat went on a 17-3 scoring run early in the third quarter and pushed their lead to as many as 23 points during the second half.
James finished with 13 points for Miami, his lowest tally since scoring eight points in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on June 7, 2011. Miami has won 14 straight home games and hasn’t lost at AmericanAirlines Arena since Jan. 4 against the Chicago Bulls.
The Heat have the best record in the NBA at 47-14 and surpassed the 17-game win streak of the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this season. The Pacers, who lead the Eastern Conference’s Central division, fell to 39-24.
The Heat have matched the second-longest winning streak in NBA history by a defending champion. The 1981-82 Boston Celtics also had run of 18 consecutive victories, while the 2008-09 Celtics won 19 games in a row.
The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Boston Celtics 91-79 for their eighth win in nine games to improve to 47-16. Kevin Durant recorded 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder, who visit the San Antonio Spurs (48-15) tonight with a chance to pull even for the best record in the Western Conference.
The Los Angeles Lakers moved into position for the final playoff berth in the West with a 90-81 win against the Chicago Bulls. Kobe Bryant had 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Lakers (33-31), who have won 16 of their past 22 games since starting the season 17-25.