Published March 12, 2013
| Sports Network
Now it's starting to get out of hand.
Wins have been piling up for the defending champion Miami Heat and they will shoot for a 19th consecutive win Tuesday versus the Southeast-rival Atlanta Hawks in the conclusion of a four-game homestand.
It's been a mixed bag as far as final margins go during the streak for the Heat, who exacted revenge on the Indiana Pacers with Sunday's 105-91 triumph at AmericanAirlines Arena. Miami had dropped the first two meetings of the season with the Pacers, who are the last team to defeat the Heat on Feb. 1.
Dwyane Wade continued his streak of 20 or more points with 23, six steals, three assists and two rebounds. He is averaging 26.6 points per game in his last nine games. Mario Chalmers scored a game-best 26 points and Chris Bosh finished with 24. MVP candidate LeBron James didn't have to do much of the scoring as he delivered 13 points, seven assists and six boards.
"It was a lot of fun, the way we played together," said Chalmers. "We came out and everybody shared the ball. Everybody did the little things to help us win."
Miami scored 27 points off 18 Indiana turnovers and used a 27-9 run for a commanding 22-point advantage.
"It helps out a lot when the scoring is that well balanced," James said. "Our ball was moving, everyone felt comfortable."
James said the players don't talk about the streak and are just living in the moment. He added the Heat want to get better and was pleased they were able to get this latest victory.
The Heat, who are 3-0 on the homestand and unbeaten in 14 straight in South Beach, shot 55.9 percent from the field and improved to 33-2 when hitting at least 48 percent of their shots. The East's top seed and Southeast Division leaders are 29-3 as the host and can match the 2008-09 Boston Celtics' 19-game run with a victory over Atlanta.
The Los Angeles Lakers also won 19 in a row back in 1999-00.
Miami is 15-2 at home against teams from the East and last suffered defeat as the host on Jan. 4 versus the Chicago Bulls. Meanwhile, Bosh played in the 700th game of his career Sunday.
After the Heat host the Hawks, they will embark on a five-game road trip through Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston and Cleveland.
The Hawks face a daunting task Tuesday in trying to shut down their Southeast co-tenants. They have lost two straight and five of their last six games, including Saturday's 93-80 setback to the Brooklyn Nets.
Al Horford had 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Josh Smith finished with 12 points for the Hawks, who put themselves in a hole with just 14 points in the second quarter (28-14) after a 23-23 score following the first 12 minutes. An 11-1 run to open the game was short lived, too.
"It would have been really easy to go into our locker room after the game and start ranting and raving about our performance tonight," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "Very early in tonight's game I sensed our team was not very energized. Our success is predicated upon whether or not we come out with energy."
The Hawks committed 17 turnovers, leading to 20 Nets points.
Regardless what Drew said about his team after the last loss, Horford has been coming to play on a nightly basis. He is averaging 22.9 points and 11.5 rebounds over his last 13 games, and needs just five offensive rebounds for 1,000 in his career. That could come with a struggle Tuesday down low against Bosh and Udonis Haslem.
Atlanta will try to stop a four-game road slide against the Heat and is 15-17 away from Philips Arena this season. The Hawks are 8-10 on the road against teams from the Eastern Conference and currently share the sixth spot in the conference with the Boston Celtics.
After visiting the Heat, Atlanta returns home to face the Lakers and Suns.
The Hawks have lost the first three meetings with Miami this season, six straight overall and 12 of the last 14 meetings. Atlanta hasn't fared so well in south Florida, losing 18 of 22 and 27 of the past 32 games there.