Sizzling Heat fights off Bucks, win streak reaches 21
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
AP Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE — LeBron James and Chris Bosh each scored 28 points, and the Miami Heat made it 21 straight wins, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 107-94 on Friday night.
Only three other teams have won 20 in a row in one season, and the Heat now trail just the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33) and the 2007-08 Houston Rockets (22) after moving ahead of the 1970-71 Bucks.
They withstood an early scare when Dwyane Wade walked to the locker room with a neck strain after crashing to the court. Miami led by as much as 17 in the third quarter, then withstood a push by the Bucks to remain unbeaten since a loss at Indiana on Feb. 1.
Miami next plays Sunday at Toronto, where the winning streak began on Feb. 3.
Bosh hit from all angles and was 12 of 16 in the game, nailing two 3-pointers. He even converted a four-point play that made it 67-53 about five minutes into the third quarter.
James was his usual dominant self, and Wade finished with 20 points as the Heat avenged a loss at Milwaukee in late December.
Ersan Ilyasova led Milwaukee with 26 points and a season-high 17 rebounds. Brandon Jennings scored 21 but was 6 of 15 from the field, and the Bucks shot just over 37 percent. Monta Ellis struggled, finishing with seven points after scoring 26 in the previous game at Washington, and the Bucks dropped their third straight.
Larry Sanders got ejected for the second straight game with 2:44 left after he was called for a foul against James and picked up two technicals.
Despite all those issues, the Bucks cut the lead to 85-79 with 8:53 remaining when J.J. Redick nailed a 3 and Ilyasova hit a free throw after Shane Battier got called for a loose ball foul. Battier then answered with a 3 and Bosh hit a runner to get the lead back up to 11 after Ilyasova’s 3-pointer rimmed out.
The Heat got a major score when Wade crashed to the court after Sanders blocked his layup.
He took a shot to the head from Sanders’ hip on the follow through and landed hard. Wade stayed down as play went the other way and was tended to for about two minutes underneath the basket after the game was stopped with 7:17 left in the first period.
Wade walked to the locker room and came back out early in the second. He re-entered the game with 7:45 left in the half and quickly hit two free throws and a layup.
James scored 17 in the first half, Bosh added 13 points and the Heat shot just under 54 percent on the way to a 51-42 halftime lead.
James was dominant as usual, throwing down a hard dunk off a spin move late in the first quarter and driving for a one-handed reverse jam along the baseline early in the second. He also nailed several turnaround jumpers even though Marquis Daniels was all over him.
LAKERS 99, PACERS 93
INDIANAPOLIS — Kobe Bryant lasted just one quarter on a severely sprained left ankle, then watched Dwight Howard complete a go-ahead, three-point play with 90 seconds left to help Los Angeles hold off Indiana.
Bryant started two nights after he was hurt but was ineffective. He went 0 for 4 in the first quarter, then went to the bench and did not return. He spent the second half holding a black box with wires running down to the injured ankle as he cheered on the Lakers (35-32).
Howard finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Metta World Peace had 19 points.
George Hill scored 27 points and Paul George had 20 for Indiana.
THUNDER 117, MAGIC 104
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 26 points and Russell Westbrook added 23 to help Oklahoma City keep up its dominant play at home with a victory over Orlando.
The Thunder scored a season-high 73 points in the first half, shooting 64 percent from the floor and converting 18 of 22 free throws. Oklahoma City led by 27 in the second quarter before Orlando pulled to 73-56 at the break.
ROCKETS 108, T’WOLVES 100
HOUSTON — James Harden scored 37 points, Jeremy Lin had 24 and Houston rallied from 20 points down in the third quarter to beat Minnesota.
Harden also grabbed seven rebounds and handed out eight assists for the Rockets, who stayed two games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers in the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference.
Derrick Williams and Jose Barea scored 19 points apiece for the Timberwolves, who led 59-39 early in the third quarter. The Rockets held Minnesota to only 16 field goals the rest of the way.
HAWKS 107, SUNS 94
ATLANTA — Josh Smith made a strong return to Atlanta’s lineup with 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, and the Hawks led by double figures throughout the final period of a victory over Phoenix.
Smith returned to Atlanta’s lineup after missing one game with a sprained left knee. All five starters scored in double figures, with Al Horford adding 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Kyle Korver had four 3-pointers and 16 points. Devin Harris had 15 and DeShawn Stevenson scored 12.
MAVS 96, CAVALIERS 86
DALLAS — Rodrigue Beaubois scored 18 points off the bench and keyed a fourth-quarter run to lead Dallas past Cleveland.
Beaubois had seven points and two assists in a 17-4 run that gave Dallas the lead for good to start the fourth.
Reserves Darren Collison and Brandan Wright each scored 13 to pace a Mavericks bench that outscored the Cavaliers’ 60-19.
Cleveland’s Dion Waiters had 21 points and Shaun Livingston chipped with 13. The Cavaliers, who were playing their second game without All-Star Kyrie Irving, shot 37 percent and turned the ball over six times in the fourth quarter.
WIZARDS 96, HORNETS 87
WASHINGTON — John Wall put on a rare shooting show, scoring a season-high 29 points and matching his career high with three 3-pointers and Washington ran its home winning streak to four.
Wall went 12 for 15 from the field, including 3 for 3 from 3-point range, displaying an outside touch that’s been mostly absent since he was chosen No. 1 overall in the 2010 draft. He entered Friday’s game just 3 for 20 from 3-point range for the season, and he was a mere 3 for 42 last season.
Wall’s performance, which included nine assists, brought some electricity to what looked to be a humdrum game between teams all but certainly headed for the NBA lottery. Eric Gordon scored 20 points for the Hornets, who have lost five straight on the road and five of six overall.
RAPTORS 92, BOBCATS 78
TORONTO — Rudy Gay scored 28 points, Amir Johnson had 12 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, and Toronto beat Charlotte.
Joey Dorsey was the last Toronto player to record 20 rebounds, doing it April 11, 2011, at Milwaukee.
Sebastian Telfair scored 11 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 10 as the Raptors won for just the third time in 10 games. They host Miami on Sunday.
Gerald Henderson, coming off a career-best, 35-point performance in the Bobcats’ 100-74 victory over Boston on Tuesday, scored 22 points. Kemba Walker added 20, and Ben Gordon and Josh McRoberts each had 10 for Charlotte.
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