Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bizarre Game Sends Heat Win Streak to 24

 The Miami Heat pulled off its greatest Houdini act yet in extending its winning streak to 24 games with a 98-95 win tonight in Cleveland. Hot fourth-quarter shooting has become a Miami trademark of late, and tonight was no different.

The Cavaliers -- one of the weaker teams in the league to begin with -- were missing three key players, but they somehow managed to build a 27-point lead, 67-40, with 7:43 left in the third quarter. The Heat then went on a 28-7 run to cut the deficit to 74-68, before a Cleveland three-pointer to end the period made it 77-68 (see play-by-play sheet).

The Heat opened the final stanza on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 77-all and then scored another 18 points (to the Cavs' 9), so that Miami had a 95-86 lead with 3:01 left in the game. Miami's 27-9 run was powered by a stretch of 6-of-7 shooting from three-point range (three consecutive treys from LeBron James before he missed one, followed by two from Ray Allen, and one from Mario Chalmers).  

One might have expected the Heat to win going away at that point, but the Cavs fought to within 96-95 with 44 seconds remaining and had some chances to win or tie the game in the closing seconds.

Next up for Miami: The Detroit Pistons come to south Florida on Friday night.

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