Basketball - LeBron leads Heat to 23rd straight win

Miami, down by 13 points with eight minutes remaining, rode LeBron James to a dramatic 105-103 victory over the valiant Boston Celtics.

Basketball - LeBron leads Heat to 23rd straight win

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Miami Heat forward LeBron James reacts after making a basket to give the Heat the lead late in the second half against the Boston Celtics (Reuters)

Heat 105, Celtics 103

The result gave the Heat their 23rd consecutive victory, the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.

Now only the 1971-72 Lakers and their 33-game streak are ahead of the Heat, who somehow managed to escape when it appeared the Celtics, playing without Kevin Garnett, were about to end the streak behind a career-best night by Jeff Green.

James, who tied the score with 1:23 left, scored 13 of his team's final 22 points and hit a jumper with 10.5 seconds left to put the Heat ahead.

Miami's Shane Battier then blocked a drive by Green out of bounds with seven seconds left. Boston's Paul Pierce then missed a fall-away 3-pointer from the right corner. Miami's Dwyane Wade grabbed the rebound and the comeback was complete.

"It means a lot to what we're trying to build," James said. "A tough-minded team on the road, it's a hostile environment. We grew again tonight and that's big for our team."

Talking about what James did down the stretch, Battier said, "It's just LeBron being LeBron. I don't really have any other words that you guys haven't already used before. He's the best.

"You never take that for granted. Shame on anybody that takes (James) for granted, because he's a special talent."

Exactly five years earlier, the Celtics ended Houston's 22-game streak and they almost did the same thing to the Heat.

But they scored just seven points in the final 8:26.

James, who has been on fire during this streak, finished with 37 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. Mario Chalmers scored 21 points and Wade had 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

The win did away with Miami's formality of clinching the Southeast Division.

Green, getting his second straight start, this time with Garnett sick, delivered the best offensive game of his career, scoring 43 points but none in the final nine minutes.

"Jeff was terrific," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after TD Garden fans starting chanting Green's name during the game.

"Yeah, I heard it," Green said. "It's a good feeling, but you just got to stay in the game. Think about the next play."

Rivers wasn't satisfied with the close loss, saying, "I believed we were going to win the game before the game. I thought we were going to win the game during the game. And I thought we should have won the game."

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Nuggets 119, Bulls 118 (OT)

An action-packed game was ultimately decided on an officials' review at the end of overtime, and the Denver Nuggets stretched their win streak to 12 games with a 119-118 victory over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

The disputed play was a baseline jumper by Chicago's Marco Belinelli that was tipped into the hoop by Joakim Noah.

After reviewing the play, the referees decided Noah touched the ball while it was in the cylinder.

Had the ball gone the other way, the Bulls would have taken a one-point lead with 1.7 seconds remaining.

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Mavericks 127, Hawks 113

The Dallas Mavericks, fighting for a playoff spot despite their sub-.500 record, thumped the Atlanta Hawks 127-113.

Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and six rebounds for the Mavericks (32-35). Chris Kaman added 14 points and seven rebounds.

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Bobcats 119, Wizards 114

Gerald Henderson had 27 points and eight assists, and the Charlotte Bobcats rallied in the final three minutes for a 119-114 victory over the Washington Wizards.

The Bobcats trailed 111-106 going into the final three minutes, but went on a 12-0 run.

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Nets 119, Pistons 82

Deron Williams had 31 points and five assists as the Brooklyn Nets handed the Detroit Pistons their ninth straight loss, 119-82 at The Palace.

Williams reached the 30-point mark for the fourth time this season despite playing just 28 minutes. Brook Lopez supplied 18 points and seven rebounds for Brooklyn (39-28), which began an eight-game road trip.

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76ers 101, Trail Blazers 100

Jrue Holiday hit the go-ahead jumper with 2:30 left and the Philadelphia 76ers survived a last-second shot by Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge in a 101-100 victory.

Holiday finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Philadelphia (26-40), which won for the third time in four games.

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Pacers 111, Cavaliers 90

Tyler Hansbrough, starting in place of injured forward David West, had 18 points and 11 rebounds in the Indiana Pacers' 111-90 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Pacers had four other players score in double figures.

Small forward Gerald Green had a team-high 20 points and added six rebounds.

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Grizzlies 92, Timberwolves 77

The Memphis Grizzlies enjoyed a 92-77 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Grizzlies (45-21) led just 45-39 at the half, but they opened the third quarter on a 13-2 run.

Just six minutes into the period, Memphis' lead was 20, and it went as high as 25 before the Grizzlies began losing interest.

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Warriors 93, Hornets 72

Stephen Curry scored a game-high 30 points and David Lee had 20 points and 11 rebounds - his 45th double-double of the season - to power the Golden State Warriors to a 93-72 victory over the New Orleans Hornets.

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