Heat top 76ers 98-94, extend winning streak to 20 games

U.S. Sports Desk, Mar 14 (EFE).- LeBron James scored 27 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 98-94 road victory over the Philadelphia 76ers and stretch the franchise's best-ever winning streak to 20 games.

The Heat held a 12-point lead at the end of two quarters Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia thanks in part to a series of highlight-reel dunks by James, but the 76ers put up a fight in the second half and the game came down to late-game execution.

The decisive play came with half a minute to go, when James twice missed from close range but was bailed out when teammate Dwyane Wade scored on a tip-in that gave the Heat a three-point lead.

For the game, James also dished out eight assists, grabbed seven rebounds and made two steals, while Wade scored 21 points and reserve guard Ray Allen contributed 12 points off the bench.

Thaddeus Young led all 76ers players with 24 points and 15 rebounds, while budding star Jrue Holiday scored 15 points and Evan Turner and Dorell Wright added 15 points and 13 points, respectively.

The Heat improved their record to 49-14, best in the NBA, and became just the fifth team in league history to win 20 or more straight games.

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 Wednesday night, the Lakers lost 96-92 to the Atlanta Hawks and suffered a major injury blow when Kobe Bryant went down with a severe ankle sprain.

Bryant accused Hawks defender Dahntay Jones of sliding his foot under him as he came down after a jumper in the waning seconds, saying the move was "dirty and dangerous."

Jones denied intentionally trying to injure the Lakers star.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, said its top scorer and co-captain is out indefinitely.

Elsewhere, the Washington Wizards got 23 points and 10 assists from John Wall in a 106-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, the Indiana Pacers cruised past the Minnesota Timberwolves 107-91, the Boston Celtics routed the Toronto Raptors 112-88, and the Houston Rockets trounced the Phoenix Suns 111-81.

The Oklahoma City Thunder pummeled the Utah Jazz 110-87, the Sacramento Kings clobbered the Chicago Bulls 121-79, the Golden State Warriors topped the Detroit Pistons 105-97, the Denver Nuggets eased past the New York Knicks 117-94, and the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 96-85.