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Heat 108, Magic 94
Late in the third quarter, the game was tied and Miami's winning streak seemed to be in jeopardy.
Then LeBron James got mad.
And then Orlando had no chance.
James finished with 24 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, throwing down a dunk to start a huge, swift run that decided everything and the Heat won their 27th straight game by topping the Magic on Monday night.
"We are not taking this team for granted," James said. "I continue to always say that in professional sports, wins are hard to come by and teams like this are really rare. To be part of a team like this, we do not take it for granted."
That dunk — which came one possession after James badly missed a layup and got frustrated — started what became a 20-2 run over merely a 4½-minute portion of the third and fourth quarters, and it put the Heat in control for good.
He left one rebound shy of a triple-double, feigning disappointment. That's about all the Heat could complain about afterward.
Mario Chalmers scored 17, and Chris Bosh and Ray Allen each added 12 for Miami, giving Heat coach Erik Spoelstra his 250th win and bringing the reigning NBA champions within six games of matching the Lakers for the longest winning streak in league history, a 33-game run.
"We did enough late in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter to come away with this win," Spoelstra said. "That was some of our best in that fourth quarter on both ends of the court. ... Before that, it was a little bit of a sleepwalk."
Jameer Nelson had 27 points and 12 assists for the Magic, who got 20 points from Tobias Harris.
The four-game road trip for Miami continues in Chicago on Wednesday, followed by a Friday matchup in New Orleans — which snapped Denver's 15-game winning streak on Monday night. Miami's trip ends Sunday in San Antonio.
It's now the second-longest winning streak in American major sports, behind only the Lakers' run. Baseball's New York Giants won 26 straight games in 1916, the New England Patriots took 21 consecutive NFL games in 2003 and 2004, and the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins won 17 consecutive times in 1993.
Dwyane Wade missed his second straight contest with a sore right knee, one that he said before the game had been bothering him periodically since March 9 and then flared up after a collision against Boston last week. He had an MRI exam over the weekend to rule out any major problems and plans to play at Chicago on Wednesday.
A 9-2 run early in the third gave Miami what was then its biggest lead, 64-53. Instead of deflating the Magic, it seemed to almost inspire the hosts, who answered with probably their best 5-minute stretch of the game, capped by a 3-pointer by Nelson with 3 minutes left that tied the game at 68-all.
And when James missed a layup at the other end, then got called for a foul after the rebound, Orlando may very well have been thinking that the streak could soon be snapped.
Miami needed only 2 minutes to close the quarter with 10 unanswered points, with James doing either the orchestrating or performing. He got loose on a curl for a dunk to start the run, and the Heat took off.
"Any time LeBron gets a dunk, that excites everybody," Chalmers said. "Makes us play a little bit harder."
Hornets 110, Nuggets 86
Ryan Anderson scored 23 points, Brian Roberts doubled his career high with 18 assists and short-handed New Orleans ended Denver's 15-game win streak.
New Orleans, playing without its starting backcourt of Eric Gordon and Greivis Vasquez, won its third in a row and was in control all the way.
Roberts, a rookie making his second start, had 11 assists by halftime, two more than his previous best. Anderson was 5 of 11 on 3-pointers, and the Hornets sank 14-of-25 3s as seven players scored in double figures.
Danilo Gallinari had 24 points for the Nuggets, who were without starting point guard Ty Lawson (right heel injury) for the third consecutive game.
Wizards 107, Grizzlies 94
John Wall scored a career-high 47 points and added eight assists, Emeka Okafor had 21 points and nine rebounds, and undermanned Washington beat Memphis.
Wall shot 13 of 22 from the field and made a career-high 19 free throws on 24 attempts.
Mike Conley led Memphis with 23 points.
It was Washington's sixth straight home win, while Memphis dropped its fourth straight road game.
Already without guard Bradley Beal (sprained left ankle), guard A.J. Price (groin) and forward Trevor Ariza (flu), Wizards coach Randy Wittman announced before the game that forwards Nene (sore right knee) and Martell Webster (abdomen strain) were also out.
Memphis center Marc Gasol missed his second straight game after aggravating an abdominal tear Friday at New Orleans.
Warriors 109, Lakers 103
Stephen Curry had 25 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds on a sprained right ankle, and Golden State held off Los Angeles.
David Lee added 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Klay Thompson scored 22 points to propel the Warriors to a 25-point lead early in the third quarter in a matchup with huge playoff implications. Golden State (41-31) improved to a game ahead of idle Houston (39-31) and 4½ games in front of the Lakers (36-35) for sixth place in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles' lead over Utah (35-36) for the final playoff spot is down to one game. The Jazz beat Philadelphia 107-91 in Salt Lake City earlier Monday night.
Kobe Bryant scored 36 points and Steve Nash had 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in an otherwise lackluster Lakers effort. Los Angeles has lost three straight games, and the latest was never even close.
Pacers 100, Hawks 94
Gerald Green scored 19 points and Roy Hibbert finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, leading short-handed Indiana past Atlanta.
The Pacers (44-27) extended their Central Division lead to five games over second-place Chicago with 11 games to play. And they did it despite playing without Danny Granger, George Hill, Lance Stephenson or David West. All four sat out with injuries.
They also won on a night that Atlanta (39-32) could have clinched a playoff spot.
Josh Smith led the Hawks with 20 points and Al Horford had 13 points and eight rebounds, not nearly enough against the revamped and focused Pacers.
Jazz 107, 76ers 91
Randy Foye scored 17 points, Gordon Hayward added 15 on 3-of-3 shooting beyond the arc and Utah beat Philadelphia to halt a four-game losing streak.
The Jazz moved within a game of the eighth-place Lakers (36-35) in the Western Conference.
Seven players scored in double figures for the Jazz (35-36), who had dropped 12 of their previous 15 to fall behind the Lakers. Utah plays seven of its final 11 games at home, where the Jazz are 25-9.
Dorell Wright scored 19 for the Sixers (27-43), who closed out a four-game Western road trip.
Garnett to miss at least a week with ankle injury
Boston's Kevin Garnett is expected to miss at least a week with inflammation in his left ankle as the Celtics practice patience with their 36-year-old star.
Coach Doc Rivers, preparing his team for a playoff run, said on Monday he doesn't think Garnett will be out for the long term.
"I don't know what long term is," Rivers said before practice. "If you mean that he's not going to play this year, no, I don't worry about that. But can he miss four or five games? Yeah, that's possible."
Garnett sat out Saturday night's 110-106 loss at Memphis and will miss tonight's home game against the New York Knicks, Rivers said.
Boston general manager Danny Ainge wasn't sure how much time Garnett would miss.
"I think that it's not longer than three weeks or it could be a week," he said. "I'll guess two weeks just because we want to make sure he's really ready. We need to get him fresh anyway."
Garnett's absence may hurt the Celtics chances to move up from the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings, but Rivers wants Garnett to be as healthy as possible when he returns.
Guard Courtney Lee, who missed the game against the Grizzlies with a sprained left ankle, might return tonight, Rivers said.
Lee and Garnett both missed practice Monday.