Heat Win 20th in Row, Knicks Lose by 23, Lakers’ Bryant Injured

The Miami Heat won their 20th straight game, the New York Knicks fell by more than 20 points again and the Los Angeles Lakers lost top scorer Kobe Bryant to an ankle injury in the National Basketball Association.

The Knicks, who were defeated 117-94 in Denver, lost All-Star center Tyson Chandler late in the first half with a bruised left knee. Leading scorer Carmelo Anthony followed him off the court with a sore knee. The Knicks already are missing forward Amar’e Stoudemire for six weeks following knee surgery. At the Wells Fargo Center, the Heat beat the host Philadelphia 76ers 98-94 last night for their 20th straight win, matching the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks for the third-longest single-season victory streak in NBA history.

LeBron James had 27 points to lead the Heat (49-14), who have the NBA’s best record this season.

Miami’s streak matches that of the Bucks, who were led by future Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor, and Oscar Robertson. The Bucks went on to win their only NBA championship.

The longest winning streak in NBA history belongs to the 1971-72 Lakers, who won 33 straight games en route to an NBA title. Players on that team, which went 69-13 in the regular season, included future Hall of Fame members Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich and Elgin Baylor.

The 2007-08 Houston Rockets failed to turn their 22-game winning streak into an NBA championship. Led by Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, the Rockets lost to the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.

Knicks Lose

At the Pepsi Center in Denver, Wilson Chandler had 24 points and Danilo Gallinari added 16 as the Nuggets (44-22) opened a 22-point halftime lead and coasted to their 10th straight victory. Iman Shumpert scored 20 points for the Knicks (38-24), who lost by 29 at Golden State two nights earlier.

Anthony, in his first game at Denver since he demanded a trade from the Nuggets two years ago, scored nine points on 3-for-12 shooting before leaving early in the third period.

At Philips Arena in Atlanta, the Lakers lost Bryant with an ankle injury for an indefinite period of time in their 96-92 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Bryant severely sprained his left ankle on the final shot of the game. After missing a jumper that would have tied the contest, Bryant landed on defender Dahntay Jones’ right foot.

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