Heat run streak to 24 with huge comeback vs. Cavaliers

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Miami Heat defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the second-longest winning streak in NBA history has now increased to 24 games.

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

CLEVELAND (AP) — Miami’s winning streak was in danger of disappearing — in Cleveland, of all places.

But LeBron James wouldn’t give up, and the second-longest winning streak in NBA history has now increased to 24 games.

“That guy right there doesn’t want to lose in this building,” teammate Dwayne Wade said, nodding toward James, who left many angry Cavaliers fans behind when he left for Miami as a free agent three years ago. “Not tonight.”

James scored 25 points as the Heat overcame a 27-point deficit in the third quarter before beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-95 on Wednesday night.

Miami is within nine games of matching the record of 33 consecutive wins held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. Once believed to be untouchable, the mark is now within reach.

James and his teammates have insisted the record isn’t one of their goals, and for more than 30 minutes the defending champions seemed disinterested and on the verge of losing for the first time since Feb. 1. Miami trailed 67-40 with 7:44 left in the third quarter.

But behind the irrepressible James, who added 12 rebounds and 10 assists in 42 minutes, the Heat inched closer to history and matched the NBA’s biggest comeback this season.

“This was one of the most bizarre, unique days of my life with everything that happened,” said James, referring to a homecoming in which a fan ran onto the floor and the opening tip was delayed 35 minutes by a leaky scoreboard. “It also was one of the best comebacks I’ve ever been a part of.”

James had 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in the fourth as Miami rallied to win for the second game in a row. The Heat were down 17 points — 13 in the fourth quarter — and stormed back to beat Boston 105-103 on Monday and surpass the 2007-08 Houston Rockets for the second-longest streak in NBA history.

“I knew there was a lot of time, so we never panicked,” James said. “We were down 27 with 18 minutes left. That’s a lifetime in basketball.”

At New Orleans, Anthony Davis beat Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green to a last-second tip-in, helping the Hornets end a four-game skid with an 87-86 win over the Celtics.

Marc Gasol tipped in Zach Randolph’s miss with less than a second left in overtime, lifting the Grizzlies to a 90-89 victory over the Thunder at Memphis. After Gasol’s tip over Durant put the Grizzlies ahead, Russell Westbrook’s desperation shot from past halfcourt was off the mark and Memphis walked away with its 16th victory in 19 games.

The Knicks had a 106-94 win over the Magic, with Carmelo Anthony scoring 21 points for New York after missing the previous three games with a knee injury.

In other matches, Charlotte beat Toronto 107-101 to win consecutive games for the first time since November, Atlanta held off Milwaukee 98-90, Brooklyn beat Dallas 113-96, Houston defeated Utah 100-93, San Antonio had a 104-93 win over Golden State and the L.A. Clippers beat Philadelphia 101-72.

John Wall scored 19 points as Washington beat the Suns 88-79, picking up its first victory at Phoenix in more than six years.

Nene had 17 points and eight rebounds, Kevin Seraphin added 16 points and Trevor Ariza scored 14 for the Wizards, who won for the fourth time in five games.

The Wizards played without center Emeka Okafor, who missed his first game this season with an illness. Washington ended a five-game losing streak in Phoenix and swept the Suns for the first time since 2001-02.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.