NBA: Bulls 101, Heat 97: Closing push can't save streak

James scores 32, gets flagrant foul, but run ends at 27 straight
2013-03-28T00:00:00Z NBA: Bulls 101, Heat 97: Closing push can't save streakThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

CHICAGO - The Miami Heat's 27-game winning streak was snapped Wednesday night by the Chicago Bulls, 101-97, when a furious comeback by LeBron James and his teammates fell short.

The Heat finished six shy of the 33-game record held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.

Luol Deng scored 28 points, Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 17 rebounds, and the Bulls brought the Heat's pursuit of NBA history to a screeching halt.

Miami's superstar did all he could to keep the run going, scoring 32 points and even collecting a flagrant foul during a physical final few minutes.

The Heat hadn't lost since the Pacers beat them in Indianapolis on Feb. 1. But after grinding out some close wins lately, including a rally from 27 down in Cleveland, no one counted them out until the final buzzer.

For the better part of two months, they were the NBA's comeback kings. They erased seven double-digit deficits during the streak. They found themselves trailing in the fourth quarter 11 times, and won them all.

Not Wednesday.

And when they walked off the floor in Chicago, faces were stoic as the Heat trudged toward the locker room. James turned and glared at one fan who grabbed at his head.

The Bulls, meanwhile, whooped and slapped hands with anyone they could reach.

It will go down as the second-longest winning streak in American major pro sports. And some of those Lakers believed their time would pass as Miami's streak rolled along, with Jerry West among those saying the reigning champions had a real shot at pulling it off.

The streak began on Super Bowl Sunday in Toronto, and they won games in a number of different ways.

They blew out good teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Bulls, then inexplicably struggled with lottery-bound Cleveland, Detroit, Sacramento, Charlotte and Orlando. They rallied from 13 points down in the final eight minutes to beat Boston, from that 27-point third-quarter hole at Cleveland, and from 11-point deficits against Detroit and Charlotte - all in a seven-day span, no less.

On Wednesday, they trailed by as much as 13 in the first half, took the lead while outscoring Chicago 22-14 in the third quarter and were within two early in the fourth after a basket by Dwyane Wade. That's when Deng answered with a three-pointer from the wing and Kirk Hinrich brought the crowd to its feet with a floater. Then, after a layup by James, Deng nailed a three to make it 83-75 with just over six minutes left.

It got testy after that. James did all he could to keep the streak going, taking enough hard hits that even his headband was dislodged, and finished with seven rebounds.

Chris Bosh scored 21. Wade added 18. Deng came up big, burying four three-pointers. He also had seven rebounds and five assists.

• Jazz 103, Suns 88: In Salt Lake City, Al Jefferson and Gordon Hayward scored 25 points apiece for Utah to stay within a game of the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference playoff battle. Utah used a 10-0 run to open the fourth quarter and led by as many as 19 while outscoring Phoenix 56-32 in the paint. Wesley Johnson had 22 points and Luis Scola 20 to lead the Suns, who dropped their fourth straight.

Streak history

Miami's streak ends behind just one team. Here are the longest regular-season winning streaks in NBA history:

33

Los Angeles Lakers, 1971-72

27

Miami Heat, 2012-13

22

Houston Rockets, 2007-08

20

Washington Capitols, 1947-48, 48-49

20

Milwaukee Bucks, 1970-71

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