LeBron James' go-ahead jumper with 10.5 seconds remaining gave the Heat their 23rd straight victory, a 105-103 triumph over the Boston Celtics
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - The Miami Heat are 10 straight wins away from matching an unprecedented mark that was once thought never to be threatened.
LeBron James' go-ahead jumper with 10.5 seconds remaining gave the Heat their 23rd straight victory, a 105-103 triumph over the Boston Celtics.
Miami surpassed the Houston Rockets' 22-game run during the 2007-08 campaign to sit alone in second on the NBA's all-time winning streak list. The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers are the only team that stands in the Heat's way. They won 33 straight contests.
James tallied 37 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds for the Heat, who overcame a 17-point second quarter deficit.
Coincidentally, the Celtics ended the Rockets' streak on this very day five years ago, but not even a career-high 43-point performance from Jeff Green could help Boston extend its 11-game home winning streak.
Green was 14-of-21 from the field and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Kevin Garnett missed his second straight game. He has the flu and has been dealing with an adductor strain in his left thigh, which forced him to sit out Saturday's contest.
After James hit his jumper, Shane Battier blocked Green's drive down the lane. Paul Pierce came off a screen on the ensuing out-of-bounds play, but his 3- point try from the right wing with 4.9 seconds left was off the mark.
Shane Battier made a heck of a play. You've got to give him credit there but we liked where he was at," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.
Boston entered the fourth with an 82-78 lead and that advantage grew when the Celts began the final frame on a 14-5 run to make it 96-83.
Miami, though, countered with an 18-4 burst of its own to take its first edge of the fourth. James had nine points during the surge, which was capped when Mario Chalmers nailed a three from the top of the arc for a 101-100 Heat margin with 2:40 remaining.
Pierce found Avery Bradley in the corner for a wide-open triple on Boston's next touch and he drained it before James' offensive rebound and putback tied the contest at 103-103 with 1:21 to play.
"We just have to continue to stick together. We're a veteran ball club and we all want to win. We got a little emotional, a little fired up on the bench," said James. "But we're all out there trying to do the thing that's right for the team, and it was everybody together in the fourth quarter."
After Green was unable to get his layup to drop, he played great defense on James' left-wing isolation play, which forced Wade into a tough fallaway shot in the paint that was an airball and resulted in a shot clock violation with 45 ticks to go.
Brandon Bass drove strongly to the basket, but his layup attempt was no good and at the other end, James got the best of Green on the same left-wing isolation play. He waited patiently and jab stepped a few times before rising up and rattling home the go-ahead jumper from the left elbow.
Earlier, Green had 10 points during a 17-0 Boston swing to close the opening stanza as the Celtics led 31-19 after a quarter of play.
Green, who netted 14 points in the first, continued his stellar play in the second with 12 more to give him 26 in the half. His three-point play vaulted Boston to its largest lead of 41-24 at the 9:13 mark of the period.
Miami, though, battled back to pull within 59-53 heading into the break and began the third on a 10-3 spurt to take the lead as James' layup made it 63-62 with 7:42 left in the stanza.
Green, however, still had the hot hand in the third and even had the Beantown faithful chanting his name. His three-point play concluded an 11-2 run to up the advantage back to 73-65. He had 12 more points in the quarter to give him 38 after three.
"Jeff was terrific. I thought he played well the entire night. He attacked. You know what I loved about Jeff, I thought the first two minutes of the game, three minutes of the game, he was struggling," Rivers said. "He missed a free throw, missed a couple of shots. And you know the old Jeff may have gone away. He actually just kept going and kept going, and that's all we talked about. And once he realized he had an advantage, he took advantage. And that was great."
Miami's 23-game run began five days after a 100-98 double-overtime loss in Boston on Jan. 27 ... Pierce finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but turned the ball over seven times ... The Heat scored 24 points of 21 Boston turnovers.