Wade leads Heat to 19th straight victory

U.S. Sports Desk, Mar 13 (EFE).- The Miami Heat extended their franchise-best winning streak to 19 games, cruising to a 98-81 home victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Star guard Dwyane Wade led the way for the Heat on Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena with 23 points and also dished out six assists, grabbed four rebounds and made five steals.

The Heat, now in a tie for the fifth-best winning streak in NBA history, took an eight-point lead in the first quarter and never looked back against an overmatched Hawks squad.

Reigning league MVP LeBron James had a quiet night for Miami, scoring just 15 points, hauling down seven rebounds and handing out seven assists in 30 minutes of play, while Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers scored 14 points apiece.

Josh Smith tallied 15 points to lead the way for the Hawks, who also got 12 points each from center Al Horford and guard Jeff Teague.

The Heat will try to become just the fifth team in NBA history to win at least 20 games in a row when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

The NBA record for the longest regular-season winning streak was set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who notched 33 straight victories.

In other NBA action Tuesday night, the Lakers continued their strong recent run of form with a 106-97 road win over the Orlando Magic.

Dwight Howard led the way with 39 points and 16 rebounds, shrugging off a torrent of boos by the Orlando fans and a "Hack-a-Howard" strategy that saw him sent to the free-throw line a whopping 39 times throughout the contest.

He made just 25 of those shots from the charity stripe overall, but was a solid 16-of-20 in the second half.

The Orlando fans remain frustrated over the drama-laden process that eventually led to the star center being sent to the Lakers in a three-team offseason trade that also involved the Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets.

The Charlotte Bobcats, meanwhile, routed the Boston Celtics 100-74, the Cleveland Cavaliers edged the Washington Wizards 95-90, the Brooklyn Nets topped the New Orleans Hornets 108-98, the Minnesota Timberwolves trounced the San Antonio Spurs 107-83, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 115-108, and the Memphis Grizzlies held off the Portland Trail Blazers 102-97.