Published January 13, 2015
The Miami Heat will try to match this season's longest winning streak in the NBA on Friday night when they go for 17 in a row against the Philadelphia 76ers in South Beach.
The Heat already own a franchise-best 16-game winning streak, but with a win on Friday, Miami would equal the Los Angeles Clippers' mark of 17 consecutive from Nov. 28, 2012-Jan. 1, 2013.
"It's very impressive," LeBron James said of the team's streak. "We're going to sit here and downplay how impressive it is. At the end of the day, we take each game by its own. If we win the next one, that's most important."
Miami's 16th straight win was among its toughest. James knifed through the lane and made a left-handed layup with 3.2 seconds on the clock to knock off the lowly Orlando Magic, 97-96, at home.
"I was just trying to be patient, see if I could penetrate to the hole," said James. "I was able to do that and finish. I had no intention of shooting a jumper."
James led the way with 26 points. He didn't enjoy the kind of spectacular all- around game as he only managed three rebounds and two assists, but he shot 11- for-12 from the free-throw line.
Dwyane Wade added 24 points and Chris Bosh chipped in 17 and 10 rebounds.
The Heat have said throughout this winning streak that they take no game or no team for granted. Miami has won 12 straight in their own building and on Friday night, they get a team that hasn't won on the road since New Year's Day in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
The Sixers have lost 11 straight away from Philly, the team's longest such streak since a 20-game slide from Dec. 28, 1987-March 4, 1988.
The 76ers began a three-game road trip with a 107-96 setback in Atlanta to the Hawks. Atlanta shot 53.8 percent from the field and 46 percent from the 3- point line.
"I thought we were very tired tonight," said head coach Doug Collins. "We were a step behind. I just thought our whole team was sluggish. I don't want to make any excuses. Atlanta is a really, really good team. I just didn't think we had much zip."
The Sixers bench contributed significantly on Wednesday. Damian Wilkins, who doesn't see regular minutes, led the way with 21. Dorell Wright added 20 in a reserve role as the Sixers' second unit amassed 59 points.
"Our bench came in and did a great job," Collins said.
But the starters did not. Thaddeus Young netted 16 and Jrue Holiday had 11, but Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Royal Ivey combined for 10 points.
The Heat have won 12 in a row against the Sixers, including a 114-90 victory in Philly two weeks ago. The Sixers have dropped eight in a row in Miami with their last win in South Beach on Feb. 23, 2008.