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Heat shoot for 18th straight win with Pacers in town
(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat haven't tasted defeat in a while.
In fact, the last time the Heat were handed a loss it was Feb. 1 at Indiana. Miami will be looking for a measure of revenge with the Pacers set to invade south Florida Sunday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Since that road loss to the Pacers, the Heat have ripped off a franchise-best 17 games in a row and are unbeaten (2-0) so far on a four-game homestand. The Heat recorded their 13th straight home victory Friday night in a 102-93 triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers as MVP candidate LeBron James registered 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
James hit a big 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter for a 76-75 edge, but the Sixers wouldn't go down easy. After grabbing a 71-67 lead on Dorell Wright's 3-pointer, Miami got itself together and headed to the win column.
"We find ways to win," Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade said after the 13th win in a row against the Sixers. "Everybody had a hand in it tonight."
Wade finished with 22 points, Chris Bosh posted 16 and Ray Allen added 12 for the top team in the East, which is 28-3 as the host and clinched a postseason berth with 22 games on the schedule. Miami shot 53.2 percent, improving to 28-2 this season when making at least 50 percent of its attempts.
In milestone news, Bosh is one game shy of 700 in his career. James was 2-of-3 from 3-point range Friday and reached the 1,000 mark in that category. Wade has scored 20 or more points in eight straight games, averaging 27.0 ppg in that stretch.
Miami's last home loss occurred on Jan. 4 versus Chicago and the team will close out the residency Tuesday versus Atlanta. The team is one win away from the longest winning streak in the league this season. The Los Angeles Clippers also won 17 in a row from Nov. 28-Dec. 30.
Indiana rolls into South Beach having won three of four and 13 of 17.
The Pacers rebounded from a tough home loss to Boston and recorded a 115-86 triumph at Orlando Friday night. All-Star Paul George scored 25 points and Tyler Hansbrough added 18 points and six rebounds for the Pacers, who have won four in a row on the road and improved to 14-16 as the guest this season.
"We're growing on the offensive end," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "We know if we put together solid offensive play with the way we defend and rebound we have a chance to do something special."
The Pacers hit the century mark in scoring for the first time since a 108-97 victory versus the Golden State Warriors on Feb. 26. The Pacers played their second straight game without forward Danny Granger, who is expected to miss a week resting a sore left knee.
Indiana, which will return home for two games versus the Timberwolves and Lakers, are ready for Sunday's anticipated meeting with Miami.
"They are playing so well. We are the last team to have beaten them," George said of the Heat. "Everybody is going to be up for that game. It should be a fun one to watch. We know they are going to be ready because we are up 2-0 on them."
Miami, of course, eliminated the Pacers in six games during last season's Eastern Conference semifinals en route to the championship. Both of Indiana's wins this season against the Heat have been by 10 or more points, but the Heat are 9-4 in the past 13 regular-season meetings.
Indiana is making its first trip to south Florida this season and has lost three straight, seven of eight and 10 of its last 12 games there.
03/10 11:11:51 ET