2013-03-19 02:55 PM
Five years to the day after the Celtics ended Houston's winning streak at 22 games, James scored 37 points and made the go-ahead basket with 10.5 seconds left in Miami's 105-103 victory on Monday night.
After overcoming the largest deficit they've faced during their streak, the only team left for the Heat to catch is the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who won 33 in a row.
"It means a lot," James said. "I know the history of the game. To be sitting in second place right now ... for us to be there and doing it the way we want to do it, it means a lot."
Jeff Green scored a career-high 43 points for Boston, which was without Kevin Garnett for the second straight game. Paul Pierce had 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Celtics, but he missed a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left that could have given Boston the win.
Instead, the defending NBA champions won a regular-season game in Boston for the first time in 11 tries.
"This was a passionate game, a lot of history between the two teams," said Miami forward Shane Battier, who played for the Rockets when their 22-game win streak ended on March 18, 2008, and was with the Heat when they knocked Boston out of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. "Not that it's playoff intensity ... nothing's like the playoffs."
James added 12 assists and Mario Chalmers scored 21 for Miami, which has not lost since Feb. 1.
"It's a special opportunity that we have with this group and you don't want to take it for granted," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "You want to treat every day as a special opportunity to be with this group, to share these moments together, but more importantly to take a step closer to going after our goal and every day that we improve puts us in a better position in a quest where nothing is guaranteed for anybody."
In other tight finishes, the 76ers wasted a 14-point buffer before holding on to edge the Trail Blazers 101-100 and the Nuggets beat the Bulls 119-118 in overtime.
Elsewhere, the Bobcats beat the Wizards 119-114, the Mavericks had a 127-113 win over the Hawks, the Pacers defeated the Cavaliers 111-90, the Nets beat the Pistons 119-82, the Warriors fended off the Hornets 93-72 and the Grizzles beat the Timberwolves 92-77.
At Philadelphia, Portland took the lead late in the fourth but the Sixers rallied and stretched the lead to 101-97 on a pair of free throws.
Damian Lillard hit a 3-pointer to cut it to 101-100 and Portland had the ball with 7.1 seconds left, but LaMarcus Aldridge missed the potential winner on a turnaround.
In Chicago, Andre Iguodala's 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds left in overtime sent Denver to its 12th consecutive win.
Wilson Chandler led the Nuggets with 35 points, Corey Brewer added 16 and Ty Lawson 13.
Nate Robinson scored 34 points for Chicago, which lost for the seventh time in 11 games. Luol Deng added 21 points, Marco Belinelli scored 18, and Joakim Noah had 12 rebounds and 14 points.
It was the 12th time in the last 13 games that Denver scored at least 100 points, and marked the first time in seven games that an opponent has scored at least 100 on the Nuggets.
Gerald Henderson had 27 points as Charlotte ended Washington's three-game win streak.
Kemba Walker scored nine of his 18 points in the final three minutes to spark a 12-0 run, lifting the Bobcats to only their second win in their last 14 games. John Wall scored 25 points and Nene added 21 for the Wizards, who have lost three of four games this season to the NBA-worst Bobcats.
At Atlanta, Darren Collison scored 24 points and Dallas set season highs for points in a half and a game.
Dallas led 68-55 at halftime and kept adding to the lead in the second half. Dirk Nowitzki, who had 22 points, hit two free throws as the Mavericks reached 100 with their first points of the final period.
Collison made 10 of 14 shots from the field, going 2 of 3 from 3-point range.
Jeff Teague scored 19 points, Al Horford had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Josh Smith added 13 points for Atlanta.