Heat put streak to the test against Bucks

The Miami Heat will try for more history on Friday night when they go for 21 straight victories against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.

With a win on Friday, the Heat will own the third-longest winning streak in NBA history at 21. The 2007-08 Houston Rockets have the second-longest run of consecutive wins with 22 and the all-time record of 33 belongs to the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.

For their part, the Heat haven't necessarily downplayed the streak, but they are not focusing on it as much as the media or fans.

"We're just doing our job and I think that's the special part about it," said Chris Bosh. "We're not trying to do anything abnormal. All we're focused on is our job."

The Heat haven't lost since a Feb. 1 setback in Indiana to the Pacers. Friday's tilt with the Bucks will resume a five-game road swing that sees Miami also go to Toronto, Boston and Cleveland.

The Heat's defense has improved during the streak. They haven't allowed an opponent to score over 100 points in their last eight and Miami is up to eighth in opponents' scoring in the NBA.

The streak reached 20 with a 98-94 road victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. LeBron James paced the Heat with 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Dwyane Wade added 21 and Bosh, Chris Anderson and Ray Allen all scored in double figures.

Friday's matchup with the Bucks will, barring some sort of epic collapse, be a preview of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Heat have already clinched a playoff spot and are 9 1/2 games ahead of the Pacers for first in the East.

The Bucks are eight games in front of the Raptors for the eighth and final playoff berth. Milwaukee can still do some shifting. The Bucks are only 2 1/2 games out of the No. 5 seed.

On Wednesday, the Bucks were awful in the first half, allowing the Washington Wizards to score 30 points in both quarters. Milwaukee was down 16 in the third quarter, but dominated Washington in the third quarter to the tune of 34-15.

But, the Wizards clobbered Milwaukee 31-15 in the final frame to get the win.

"I thought when we made that run in the second half we had them," guard Brandon Jennings said. "Usually teams like that, they kind of die down, but they kept pushing."

Insults notwithstanding, the Bucks allowed the Wiz to shoot 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line.

Monta Ellis continued his torrid scoring pace. He had 26 against the Wizards and has gone over 20 points in every game so far in March and nine consecutive.

The Bucks, who have dropped two straight, but have three in a row at home starting on Friday, defeated the Heat on Dec. 29 in Milwaukee. The Heat bested the Bucks in South Beach on Nov. 21, but have lost four of six to the Bucks and two of three in Brew City.