ORLANDO, Fla. – LeBron James badly missed a layup, got angry and committed a foul after the rebound. It was late in the third quarter, the game was tied and this Miami Heat winning streak seemed to be in jeopardy.
On the next possession, he threw down a fierce dunk.
Everything changed in that instant. The game became a runaway, and the Heat moved another step closer to the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers and the greatest streak in the history of the league.
James finished with 24 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, and the Heat won their 27th straight game by pulling away down the stretch to beat the Orlando Magic 108-94 on Monday night.
That dunk started what became a 20-2 run over merely a 4 1/2 -minute portion of the third and fourth quarters, and it put the Heat in control for good.
I missed some easy layups, James said. That’s what makes me mad more than anything. I missed some easy layups. So for a scorer, getting a dunk, an easy one like a layup or a dunk, it helps.
He left one rebound shy of a triple-double, feigning disappointing. That’s about all the Heat could complain about afterward.
Mario Chalmers scored 17, and Chris Bosh and Ray Allen each added 12 for Miami, giving Heat coach Erik Spoelstra his 250th win and bringing the reigning NBA champions within six games of matching the Lakers for the longest winning streak in league history, a 33-game run that ended 41 years ago.
Jameer Nelson had 27 points and 12 assists for the Magic, who got 20 points from Tobias Harris.
PACERS 100, HAWKS 94: In Indianapolis, Gerald Green scored 19 points and Roy Hibbert finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, leading short-handed Indiana past the Atlanta.
The Pacers (44-27) extended their Central Division lead to five games over second-place Chicago with 11 games to play. And they did it despite playing without Danny Granger, George Hill, Lance Stephenson or David West, who sat out with injuries.
Josh Smith led the Hawks (39-32) with 20 points and Al Horford had 13 points and eight rebounds, not nearly enough against the revamped and focused Pacers.
Indiana took control by opening the second quarter on a 25-9 spurt that turned a 26-all tie into a 51-35 lead. Atlanta closed to 94-90 late in the fourth but couldn’t get any closer.
Backup forward Jeff Pendergraph scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half for Indiana. Tyler Hansbrough, West’s replacement, finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Indiana shot 58.5 percent from the field in the first half and dominated the game until committing 10 fourth-quarter turnovers.
WASHINGTON 107 MEMPHIS 94: In Washington, John Wall scored a career-high 47 points and added eight assists, Emeka Okafor had 21 points and nine rebounds, and undermanned Washington beat Memphis.
Already without guard Bradley Beal (sprained left ankle), guard A.J. Price (groin) and forward Trevor Ariza (flu), Wizards coach Randy Wittman announced before the game that forwards Nene (sore right knee) and Martell Webster (abdomen strain) were also out.
HORNETS 110, NUGGETS 86: In New Orleans, Ryan Anderson scored 23 points, Brian Roberts doubled his career high with 18 assists and short-handed New Orleans beat Denver, ending the Nuggets’ 15-game win streak.
New Orleans, playing without its starting backcourt of Eric Gordon and Greivis Vasquez, won its third in a row and was in control all the way.