LeBron James and his consecutive 20-point performances are starting to get out of hand, but the Miami Heat aren't complaining.
James and the defending champion Heat will resume a four-game road trip Friday night against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Heat have ripped off six straight wins thanks to James, who has scored at least 20 points in all 26 games this season, including a 27-point effort in Wednesday's 105-92 victory at Charlotte.
The reigning NBA MVP also pulled down 12 rebounds, handed out eight assists and had four steals for Miami, which can record a season-best winning streak by defeating the Pistons tonight. Miami hasn't won seven in a row since a nine-game run from Feb. 10-Mar. 1.
Dwyane Wade scored 29 points against the Bobcats, while Mario Chalmers and Chris Bosh ended with 17 and 14 points, respectively, in the win. The Bobcats made it close by outscoring the Heat, 33-23, in the third quarter.
"We're not a team that trying to win in two quarters or three quarters. We know it takes 48 minutes to win a basketball game and we're not going to shortcut anything," said James. "We know teams are going to make runs and we have to be able to withstand their run and make enough plays offensively and defensively to come away with it."
Miami shot 45.7 percent for the game and made 12-of-23 3-pointers. It has scored 90-plus points in each of the past 19 games and has not allowed an opponent to score 100 or more points over the previous nine. The Heat have reached the century mark in scoring in 19 of the 26 games this season.
James, meanwhile, has reached double figures in scoring in 445 consecutive games, including 167 contests in a row as a member of the Heat. The last player to score 20-plus points in 26 straight games to start the season was Kevin McHale, who did it in 28 games for the Boston Celtics back in 1986-87. James, currently fifth in the NBA with 25.6 ppg, has turned the trick 47 times in a row dating back to last season, including the playoffs.
In other milestone news, the Heat are 15 wins shy of 1,000 in their history.
On the penalty front for Miami, Wade will miss tonight's game to serve a one- game suspension without pay for making contact with the groin of Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions. Also, guard Ray Allen (shoulder) is questionable for the Heat, who are 6-4 on the road and will visit Milwaukee and Orlando on the trek.
Detroit will commence a five-game homestand Friday versus Miami, Milwaukee, Sacramento, Atlanta and Charlotte, and is 6-8 at The Palace.
The Pistons had a modest two-game winning streak stopped with Wednesday's 126-199 double-overtime loss at Atlanta as Will Bynum registered 31 points off the bench and both Andre Drummond and Rodney Stuckey scored 16 points. Drummond also pulled down 12 rebounds and Stuckey had 11 assists.
Detroit was outscored, 31-17, in the third quarter before posting a 39-20 advantage in the fourth stanza. Both teams scored seven points in the first extra session, then the Hawks posted an 18-11 edge in the second OT. The Pistons got 85 points from their bench, the most since the Charlotte Hornets scored 85 against the Boston Celtics in 1999.
"I thought the second unit showed great resolve after being down 22 and to fight their tails off," said Detroit head coach Lawrence Frank "Obviously we had some great opportunities to win the game. At the end of regulation we just couldn't come up with the one stop we needed."
Tayshaun Prince and Charlie Villanueva had 14 points apiece in defeat, Detroit's seventh in the past nine games. Detroit was killed on the fast-break as Atlanta recorded a 36-9 advantage and converted 18 Pistons' turnovers into 25 points.
Seven of the last nine losses for the Pistons have been by seven points or less. In injury news for Detroit, Stuckey, who is averaging 12.1 points and 4.6 assists, is questionable versus the Heat because of a sprained left ankle.
The Pistons lost all three meetings with Miami a season ago and are mired in a seven-game slide in this series. The Heat are unbeaten in their last seven games at The Palace.