Bulls 101, Heat 97: Miami’s 27-game winning streak ended last night in Chicago when a furious comeback by LeBron James and his teammates fell short.
The Heat finished six games short of the 33-game record held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
Luol Deng scored 28 points, Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 17 rebounds and the Bulls brought the Heat’s pursuit of the record to a screeching halt despite another big game from James.
James scored 32 points in a physical final few minutes that saw the reigning league MVP even collect a flagrant foul.
“We haven’t had a chance to really have a moment to know what we just did,” James said. “We had a moment, just very fortunate, very humbling and blessed to be part of this team and be part of a streak like that. It’s one of the best that this league has ever seen. We recognized that and rightfully so.”
The Heat hadn’t lost since the Pacers defeated them in Indianapolis on Feb. 1. But after grinding out some close victories lately, including a rally from a 27-point deficit in Cleveland, they came up short in the stretch drive last night.
For the better part of two months, they were the NBA’s comeback kings. They erased seven double-digit deficits during the streak. They found themselves trailing in the fourth quarter 11 times, and won them all.
It will go down as the second-longest winning streak in the history of American major pro sports. And some of those Lakers believed their time would pass as Miami’s streak rolled along, with Jerry West among those saying that he believed the reigning champions had a real shot at pulling it off.
“We understand, probably more so later on in our careers, the significance of that. And then that was it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We took that moment to acknowledge it, to acknowledge each other, that experience, but it was never about the streak. We have a bigger goal, but also right now, it’s about, ‘Are we getting better?’ ”
LAST NIGHT’S HIGHLIGHTS
Celtics 93, Cavaliers 92: Jeff Green scored 21 points and hit the winning layup as time expired, and visiting Boston ended a five-game losing streak.
Brandon Bass scored 22 points to lead the Celtics, who rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
After Cleveland’s Alonzo Gee knocked the ball out of bounds with 2.1 seconds left, Green took an inbound pass from Avery Bradley at the top of the key, drove into the lane and scored over two defenders as time expired.
Wayne Ellington scored 16 points to lead the Cavaliers, who have lost six in a row.
It was another frustrating loss for Cleveland coach Byron Scott, whose team was outscored 21-6 with the game on the line.
“We were looking at the clock, playing not to lose the game instead of to win the game,” Scott said. “You have to look to win. You can’t hope the clock runs out, and that’s what we kind of did.”& amp; amp; lt; /p>
Lakers 120, Timberwolves 117: Kobe Bryant had 31 points and seven assists, and Dwight Howard had 25 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks to help Los Angeles beat host Minnesota for the 22nd straight time.
Spurs 100, Nuggets 99: Tim Duncan had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and host San Antonio escaped when Denver guard Andre Miller missed a short jumper as time expired.
Lakers forward Metta World Peace, the team’s best perimeter defender, is scheduled to have surgery on today to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and will miss a minimum of six weeks. … Tom Boerwinkle, a former Bulls center and Independence, Ohio, native who had a franchise-record 37 rebounds in a 1970 game against the Phoenix Suns, died on Tuesday after a lengthy illness. He was 67.