James, Heat keep streak alive vs. Celtics
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
BOSTON — Walking the fine line between victory and defeat – that’s bound to happen during a lengthy winning streak – the Miami Heat survived.
They survived a career-high 43 points from Celtics forward Jeff Green. They survived 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists from Paul Pierce. They survived a riled up home crowd, anxious to see the Celtics end the Heat’s winning streak.
The Heat kept their winning streak intact, extending it to 23 games with a 105-103 victory vs. the Celtics Monday.
They did it with great play from forward LeBron James, who had 37 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.
It is the second-longest winning streak in NBA history, behind the 33 wins a row by the 1971-72 Lakers and surpassing the 2007-08 Rockets who won 22 consecutive games. Incidentally, the Celtics ended Houston’s winning streak five years on March 18.
What James and guard Dwyane Wade are doing on this winning streak has them pace to join Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen as the only teammates to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in a season.
James, front-runner for MVP honors, entered Monday averaging 26.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.1 assists, and Wade, an MVP candidate if not for James’ fantastic season, was averaging 21.8 points, five assists and five rebounds. Both were shooting better than 52% from the field.
After Avery Bradley’s three-pointer with 1:49 left out Boston up 103-101, Heat forward LeBron James tied the score at 103 with 1:23 left. James’ basket with 10.5 seconds left gave Miami a 105-103 lead and the win.
The Heat needed multiple comebacks to salvage the streak. Miami trailed 41-24 in the second quarter and took at 61-59 third quarter lead, and it trailed 99-92 with 5:14 left in the fourth quarter. But the Heat controlled Boston down the stretch,who played without injured forward-center Kevin Garnett.
It is the first time the Heat have a won a regular-season game in Boston since April 2007.