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Miami Heat nearly blows winning streak to the Cleveland Cavaliers

March 20, 2013|By Matt Wilhalme
  • LeBron James had a triple double for Miami as the Heat extended its winning streak to 24 games.
LeBron James had a triple double for Miami as the Heat extended its winning… (Ed Suba Jr. / McClatchy-Tribune )

Down 27 points to the lowly Cavaliers, for a moment -- a half really -- it appeared the Miami Heat’s winning streak would end at 23 games to the team LeBron James spurned for South Beach: Cleveland.

But one can never count out the NBA’s defending champions, who pulled off their second comeback in two nights in a 98-95 victory over the Cavaliers on Wednesday.

The Cavaliers (22-46), who were without their three leading scorers, All-Star Kyrie Irving, Dion Waters and Anderson Varajao, held a 21-point lead at halftime. That lead ballooned to 27 points in the third quarter before Miami (53-14) asserted itself.

BOX SCORE: Heat 98, Cavaliers 95

To open the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers scored two points through the first five-plus minutes.

James, on the other hand, scored eight straight to get the quarter underway en route to a triple double (25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists).

The Heat converted the deficit to a nine-point lead until Tristan Thompson brought Cleveland to within one, 96-95, with a pair of free throws.

On the next possession, Dwayne Wade missed a 19-foot jump shot, giving Cleveland a chance to take the lead with 26.9 seconds remaining.

Wayne Ellington, making his sixth start of the year -- second for Cleveland, missed a 23-foot step-back jumper with 5.2 seconds left.

James then iced the game with two free throws.

The Heat’s winning streak extends to 24 games, the second-longest in NBA history behind the Lakers’ 33-game streak during the 1971-72 season.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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