Heat ride 17-game streak into matchup with Pacers
MIAMI -- With yet another win in the books, the Miami Heat turned their attention to the streak.
And, no, not that 17-game winning one.
LeBron James scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Dwyane Wade added 22 points and the Heat pulled away late to beat Philadelphia 102-93 on Friday night -- their 12th straight regular-season win over Philadelphia, their 13th in a row at home and most importantly, their 17th straight victory overall.
Up next for Miami: Indiana comes in for a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday, and the Pacers are 2-0 against the Heat this season, both of those wins coming at Indianapolis.
And that two-game slide is what the Heat were talking about after beating Philly, not that 17-game roll the reigning NBA champions are currently enjoying.
"Every team that has beaten us, especially since the break, we've tried to redeem ourselves and play a lot better," Wade said. "Obviously the first game, they smacked us pretty good. Second time, we had a chance, but they did more than us to win the game. So now it's our turn, being at home, to come out and take care of business."
Indiana won 87-77 on Jan. 8 and 102-89 on Feb. 1.
The Heat haven't lost since that second meeting.
"We got better tonight," James said. "And that's the most important thing."
James went to the bench with 8:02 left and with the Heat only leading by eight. Philadelphia never got any closer than that from there, and James wound up logging his 11th-shortest night of the season in terms of minutes, playing just over 34.
"Good team win, particularly in the second half," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Our bench was really dialed in."
Thaddeus Young scored 25 points, Dorell Wright added 14 and Spencer Hawes finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the 76ers, who lost their 12th straight on the road. Jrue Holiday added a game-high 13 assists for Philadelphia.
The 76ers got outscored 48-31 in the final 19 minutes.
"I've very proud of them," Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. "Our guys fought tonight. They did a tremendous job and it's just that Miami is a great, great team and that's what happens with great teams. They ratchet it up on you and squeeze you for about five or six minutes and then they take the game. That's what championships have always done so I couldn't ask any more of our guys. I thought they did everything they could do."
Down by nine in the third quarter, the Heat took a 76-75 lead when James beat the buzzer to end the period with a 3-pointer, then took control with what became a 17-4 run over a 5-minute stretch of the fourth.
"Anytime you can hit a big shot like that at the end of the quarter it definitely is a momentum-shifter," Young said. "And I think that's what got them going and they came out and just jumped out on us in the fourth."
That they did. And when the closing barrage was over, it was time for the Heat to start thinking about Indiana.
The Heat needed six games to oust the Pacers in a physical, verbal and sometimes bloody series last spring, a matchup where Indiana led 2-1 and had a raucous home crowd believing Game 4 would leave Miami one game from elimination.
That's before Miami won the last three games of the series.
"It's what they want on Sunday, fans get a game that they think is compelling," Spoelstra said. "Indiana wants to play us and compete against us, and we want to compete against them."
Miami clinched a playoff spot with 22 games remaining, five games faster than any other team in Heat history. ... It was the 450th Heat home game, including playoffs, since Wade was drafted in 2003. Miami has won 315 of those games, exactly 70 percent. ... Hawes was 4 for 5 in the first half, then 0 for 5 in the third quarter. ... The 76ers won three road games in a four-day span of November. They're 3-21 away from home since. ... It was Miami's 105th straight home sellout, the franchise's second-longest streak. ... Wade has at least one steal in 21 straight games, matching the longest such streak of his career. ... James became the 70th NBA player with 1,000 3-pointers made, according to STATS.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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