CLEVELAND — LeBron James scored 25 points as the Miami Heat overcame a 27-point deficit in the third quarter and won their 24th consecutive 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.
HAWKS 98, BUCKS 90
In Atlanta, Jeff Teague scored 27 points and Al Horford had 26, taking control after a sluggish first quarter to lead the Hawks past Milwaukee.
Teague scored 11 points in the second quarter and a dozen more in the third as the Hawks pushed out to a 77-59 lead. Horford scored 10 points in the final period and finished with 15 rebounds, stepping up to help the Hawks hold off a Milwaukee comeback.
HORNETS 87, CELTICS 86
In New Orleans, Anthony Davis outreached Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green for a last-second tip-in, and the Hornets snapped a four-game losing skid.
Davis was playing despite missing the morning shootaround with an illness, and finished with nine points and eight rebounds. Ryan Anderson scored 21 points and Gordon 18 for the Hornets.
SPURS 104, WARRIORS 93
In San Antonio, Tim Duncan had 25 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and four blocks as the Spurs beat Golden State.
Tiago Splitter added 17 points, Manu Ginobili had 16 points and seven assists and fellow reserve Nando De Colo had 10 points for San Antonio (52-16), which is second to Miami (53-14) for the league’s best record.
KNICKS 106, MAGIC 94
In New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points after missing the previous three games with a knee injury, and the Knicks beat Orlando.
J.R. Smith had 22 points for New York, still short-handed in the frontcourt but looking much better with Anthony back. The NBA’s second-leading scorer hadn’t played since leaving the Knicks’ road trip last week to have fluid drained from the back of his right knee.
GRIZZLIES 90, THUNDER 89 (OT)
In Memphis, Tenn., Marc Gasol tipped in Zach Randolph’s miss with less than a second left in overtime to give Memphis a victory over Oklahoma City.
BOBCATS 107, RAPTORS 101
In Charlotte, N.C., Byron Mullens scored 25 points, Gerald Henderson had another solid all-around game and the Bobcats beat Toronto to win consecutive games for the first time since mid-November.
Rudy Gay had 25 points for the Raptors.
NETS 113, MAVERICKS 96
In Dallas, Brook Lopez scored 38 points and Deron Williams had 31 in his first visit to Dallas since spurning his hometown team in free agency, leading Brooklyn past the Mavericks.
Williams scored 26 in the second half, repeatedly hitting shots and occasionally assisting on a basket by Lopez to prevent a Dallas rally in the fourth quarter.
ROCKETS 100, JAZZ 93
In Houston, James Harden scored 29 points and Jeremy Lin added 24 as the Rockets beat Utah.
Gordon Hayward had 27 points for Utah.