The Miami Heat stretched their winning streak to a franchise-best 15 games Monday night with their 97-81 victory over the Timberwolves at Minneapolis.
With four consecutive home games coming up, they have a good shot at extending that even further.
The Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, and Atlanta Hawks all come to AmericanAirlines Arena before the Heat go the road for five consecutive games, starting with a trip to Philadelphia for a quick rematch with the Sixers.
During the streak, the Heat have won eight games at home, seven on the road, and seven against teams with winning records. They have won 10 games by double digits, and their average winning margin is 12.3 points. One game went overtime (actually, two extra periods).
Through the streak, LeBron James has averaged 28.3 points per game with a high of 40 and a low of 16. He has shot 61.3 percent from the field.
Over the last six games of the stretch, Dwyane Wade has shot 61.8 percent from the field and averaged 29.5 points per outing. He had a season-39 against Sacramento.
With one more win, the Heat will move into a six-way tie for the 15th longest-winning streak in NBA history. The longest this season is 17 games by the Los Angeles Clippers.
If the Heat can hold serve at home, they would move into a tie for fourth with the 2008-09 Boston Celtics and the 1999-00 Los Angeles Lakers for the fourth-longest winning streak ever.
The Heat have a ways to go, a long ways, to get to the NBA record for the longest winning streak. It’s 33 games set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
Here’s a look at the highlights of the Heat’s current streak:
Heat 100, Raptors 85 (Feb. 3, at Toronto): The Heat outscored the Raptors 56-35 in the second half and 29-18 in the fourth quarter to overcome a six-point halftime deficit. The Heat’s Big Three combined for 81 points with James going for 30, Chris Bosh for 28 and Wade for 23.
Heat 99, Bobcats 94 (Feb. 4, at Miami): Coming into the game with only an 11-35 record, Charlotte gave the Heat an unexpected battle, outscoring the Heat 33-31 in the fourth quarter. James scored 31 points on 13-of-14 shooting, Bosh added 23 and Wade 20. Bosh’s steal and dunk with 1:13 left was a key play, turning a two-point game into a four-point affair.
Heat 114, Rockets 108 (Feb. 6, at Miami): Houston was coming off a 140-point game in its previous outing and the Heat were without Bosh (flu). James and Wade combined for 63 points. The Heat had a 17-point lead in the third quarter but led by only six entering the fourth quarter. Udonis Haslem drawing a charge with the Heat up by only two and Wade coming up with a key block of a 3-point attempt by James Harden were two key defensive plays in the fourth quarter.
Heat 111, Clippers 89 (Feb. 8, at Miami): Los Angeles guard Chris Paul had missed 12 of the previous 14 games with a knee injury and struggled. Wade played despite showing flu-like symptoms, and Bosh missed a second game because of the flu. James led the Heat with 30 points followed by Wade (20) and Mario Chalmers (18). It was no contest after the Heat led by 22 at the half and 35 going into the fourth quarter.
Heat 107, Lakers 97 (Feb. 10, at Miami): The “other” Los Angeles team got 28 points from Kobe Bryant, but the Heat got 32 points from James and 30 from Wade. The Lakers shot 50 percent in a losing effort, but the Heat shot 55 percent.
Heat 117, Trail Blazers 104 (Feb. 12, at Miami): James, Bosh, and Wade combined for 86 points with Bosh topping the list with 32. James had his sixth straight 30-point effort and Wade had 24 to overcome the 33-point effort of Portland’s Damian Lillard. The Heat overcame a 95-90 fourth-quarter deficit and outscored the visitors 16-2 over the final 4:38.
Heat 110, Thunder 100 (Feb. 14, at Oklahoma City): In the final game before the All-Star break, the Heat jumped out by 15 in the first quarter and never trailed. James stretched his streak of 30-point games to seven with his 39 points, but his stretch of 30-plus games combined with 60 percent shooting ended when he took and missed a meaningless 3-pointer in the last minute. He finished 14 of 24 from the field (58.3 percent). Bosh had 20 and Wade and Ray Allen 13 each. Kevin Durant had 40 for the Thunder.
Heat 103, Hawks 90 (Feb. 20 at Atlanta): In the first game after the All-Star break, James (24), Wade (20), and Bosh (6) combined for only 50 points but Shane Battier (17) and Allen (15) gave the Heat a big lift off the bench. After the Hawks closed to within 78-77 with 7:43 left in the game, the Heat closed on a 25-13 run.
Heat 86, Bulls 67 (Feb. 21, at Chicago): The Heat won in Chicago for the first time since James joined the team for the 2010-11 season. James had 26 points and Wade 17. The Heat held the Bulls to just 37.3 percent shooting and forced them into 26 turnovers.
Heat 114, 76ers 90 (Feb. 23, at Philadelphia): Wade had sensational shooting night, going 14 of 18 from the field and scoring 33 points. James had only 16 points, taking just 12 field goal attempts, but he recorded a triple double by adding 10 rebounds and handing out 11 assists.
Heat 109, Cavaliers 105 (Feb. 24, at Miami): The Heat blew a 22-point first half lead and 18-point cushion at the break when the Cavs outscored them 36-17 in the third quarter. But with Wade scoring 15 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, the Heat regained control and outscored the visitors 28-23 in final period. Battier’s 3-pointer and Wade’s decisive drive down the lane were key plays late in the game.
Heat 141, Kings 129 (Feb. 26, at Miami): After the 128-99 rout of the Kings in Sacramento in January, this one didn’t figure to be much of a contest. But the Kings got 36 points from Marcus Thornton off the bench and placed four starters in double figures while the Heat got 40 from James and 39 from Wade plus 21 from Allen off the bench. The Heat had a chance to win it in regulation but Wade missed a 22-foot jump shot with less than a second left. At the end of the first overtime, John Salmons blocked James’ layup with 2.1 seconds left and then Bosh missed a 19-footer at the buzzer. The Heat finally took command and outscored the Kings 17-5 in the second overtime.
Heat 98, Grizzlies 91 (March 1, at Miami): Memphis came in with an eight-game winning streak to nearly match Miami’s 12-game streak. James struggled in the early going and made only one of his seven field goal attempts through the first three quarters. But he came alive in the fourth quarter and hit a key 3-pointer with 24.2 seconds left to put the Heat up by four points. He then canned five of six free throws in the remaining seconds to finish with 18 points. He had 10 assists and was just two rebounds short of a triple-double. Wade finished with 22 points.
Heat 99, Knicks 93 (March 3, at New York): After a pair of 20-point losses to the Knicks early in the season, the Heat looked on their way to another after the Knicks led 59-35 at the half on the strength of a 37-22 second-quarter. But the Heat trimmed 10 points off that deficit in the third period and held the Knicks to just 16 points in the fourth quarter. Carmelo Anthony had 32 points for the Knicks for the game but only four in the final period. James had 17 of his 29 points in the same period. Wade had 20.
Heat 97, Timberwolves 81 (March 4, at Minneapolis): This game turned when the Timberwolves’ J.J. Barea was ejected in the fourth quarter because of a flagrant 2 foul against Allen. It was just a six-point game in the Heat’s favor at the time of Barea’s foul at the 8:09 mark. Two minutes later, the Heat were up by 13. Wade finished with 32 points, James 20.