Marreese Speights #15 and Wayne Ellington #21 of the Cleveland Cavaliers put pressure on LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on March 20, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Photographer: (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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CLEVELAND - LeBron James scored 25 points as the Miami Heat overcame a 27-point deficit in the third quarter and won their 24th straight game, 98-95 over the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night to extend the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.
The Heat are within nine games of matching the record of 33 consecutive wins held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
James and his teammates have insisted the record isn't one of their goals, and for more than 30 minutes the defending champions seemed disinterested and on the verge of losing for the first time since Feb. 1. Miami trailed 67-40 with 7:44 left in the third quarter.
But behind the irrepressible James, who added 12 rebounds and 10 assists, the Heat inched closer to history by matching the biggest comeback in the NBA this season.
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Kyrie Irving scored 23 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped the Denver Nuggets' seven-game winning streak with a 98-88 victory Wednesday night.
Andrew Bynum and Dion Waiters each scored 20 points, and the Cleveland Cavaliers held off a late rally by the Chicago Bulls for a 97-93 victory Saturday night.