The scorching-hot Miami Heat put their 12-game winning streak on the line Friday night when they host the Memphis Grizzlies at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat will be sad to see February go.
After dropping a game in Indiana to the Pacers on Feb. 1, the Heat didn't lose again. Miami's .923 winning percentage for the month was its third-best in franchise history and February marked the 19th consecutive winning month for the Heat, which is a team record.
"We don't play by the months," said LeBron James. "We didn't go into February saying, 'let's go 12-1.' We needed one of those stretches and we had one of those. We want to keep it going."
The Heat were, of course, driven by an amazing month from James.
In addition to the first NBA streak of six straight games with 30-plus points while shooting 60 percent from the field, James finished the month shooting 64.1 percent from the field. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that percentage, based on players with 200 attempts, was the highest since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shot 65 percent for the Los Angeles Lakers in March of 1983.
James is well on his way to Player of the Month honors, but Dwyane Wade hasn't been shabby. He has shot 62.7 percent from the field over his last four and is averaging 28.3 ppg during that span.
The Heat needed a few days off after Tuesday's double-overtime victory over the Sacramento Kings in Miami. The Heat prevailed, 141-129, as James posted a season-high 40 points and a career-high 16 assists. Wade added 39 points and seven assists.
The Heat have won 10 in a row at home and own an Eastern Conference best mark of 25-3 as the host.
The Grizzlies are a respectable 15-10 away this season and Friday's game will be a classic defense vs. offense matchup.
Miami is fifth in the NBA in scoring at 103.9 ppg, while the Grizzlies are the league's stingiest defense, allowing just 89.5 ppg.
While the Heat's 12-game winning streak garners all of the attention in the NBA, the Grizzlies have won eight straight themselves.
"They've won eight straight, that no one talks about, but we know," said James.
The Grizzlies' streak got to eight on Wednesday with a home victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Memphis overcame a 19-point deficit after the first quarter to win, 90-84.
Dallas' lead got as big as 25 points and Memphis didn't score a field goal for seven minutes in the fourth quarter and still came out on top.
"I don't know what their mindset was coming in, but it wasn't about going out and being professional and doing what they were supposed to do and playing the way they are capable of playing," said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins.
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol both had double-doubles as the Grizz only shot 37.7 percent from the field for the game.
Memphis, which has won three straight on the road, has won eight in a row twice this season. The Grizzlies lost their season-opener, then rattled off eight straight from Nov. 2-17.
During that stretch, the Grizzlies beat the Heat, 104-86, in Memphis. The Grizzlies have won three of their last four against the Heat and seven of their last 10.
Memphis has taken two of its last three in South Beach.