Miami's winning streak was in danger of disappearing -- in the most unimaginable setting.
LeBron James wouldn't give up.
"That guy right there doesn't want to lose in this building," teammate Dwyane Wade said, nodding toward James. "Not tonight."
James scored 25 points as the Heat overcame a 27-point deficit in the third quarter and won its 24th straight game, 98-95 over the short-handed Cavaliers on Wednesday night in Cleveland to extend the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.
The Heat is within nine games of matching the record of 33 consecutive wins held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
Miami trailed 67-40 with 7:44 left in the third quarter. But behind the irrepressible James, who added 12 rebounds and 10 assists in 42 minutes, the Heat inched closer to history and matched the NBA's biggest comeback this season, according to STATS.
"This was one of the most bizarre, unique days of my life with everything that happened," said James, referring to a homecoming in which a fan ran onto the floor and the opening tip was delayed 35 minutes by a leaky scoreboard. "It also was one of the best comebacks I've ever been a part of."
"I knew there was a lot of time, so we never panicked," James said. "We were down 27 with 18 minutes left. That's a lifetime in basketball."
Although the Cavs were missing All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao -- their top three scorers -- they
It wasn't until James, playing his fourth game back in Cleveland since leaving as a free agent in 2010, made two free throws with 4.7 seconds left that Miami could relax, but just a little. The Cavs had one last chance to tie it, but C.J. Miles was long with a 3-pointer in the final second, letting Miami off the hook.
Grizzlies 90, Thunder 89: Marc Gasol tipped in Zach Randolph's miss with less than a second left in overtime to give host Memphis a victory over Oklahoma City.
Hornets 87, Celtics 86: Anthony Davis outreached Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green for a last-second tip-in, and host New Orleans defeated Boston. Ryan Anderson scored 21 points for the Hornets.
Nets 113, Mavericks 96: Brook Lopez scored 38 points and Deron Williams had 31 to lead Brooklyn to a win in Dallas.
Rockets 100, Jazz 93: James Harden had 29 points and Jeremy Lin scored 24 as host Houston defeated Utah.
Knicks 106, Magic 94: Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points after missing the previous three games with a knee injury, and host New York beat Orlando.