NBA: LeBron James scored 25 points as the visiting Miami Heat overcame a 27-point deficit in the third quarter and won their 24th straight game, 98-95 over the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night to extend the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.
The Heat are within nine games of matching the record of 33 consecutive wins held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
Miami trailed 67-40 with 7:44 left in the third quarter.
But behind the irrepressible James, who added 12 rebounds and 10 assists, the Heat inched closer to history by matching the biggest comeback in the NBA this season, according to STATS.
James had 14 points in the fourth as Miami completed its second straight comeback.
Although the Cavs were missing All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao – their top three scorers – they pushed Miami to the limit.
It wasn’t until James, playing his fourth game back in Cleveland since leaving as a free agent in 2010, made two free throws with 4.7 seconds left that Miami could relax a little.
• Gasol tips in winning shot: Marc Gasol tipped in Zach Randolph’s miss with less than a second left in overtime to give the host Memphis Grizzlies a 90-89 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In a game that had all the intensity of a playoff matchup, Jerryd Bayless connected from the top of the key for Memphis with 3.7 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. Bayless had 10 points in the fourth quarter.
• Hornets beat Celtics at buzzer: Anthony Davis outreached Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green for a last-second tip-in, and the New Orleans Hornets snapped a four-game skid with an 87-86 victory over the visiting Boston Celtics.
• Duncan dominates: Tim Duncan had 25 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and four blocks and the host San Antonio Spurs beat the Golden State Warriors 104-93.
• Anthony returns to lead Knicks: Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points after missing the previous three games with a knee injury, and the New York Knicks beat the visiting Orlando Magic 106-94.
• Clippers rout 76ers: Chris Paul scored 19 points, Caron Butler added 14 and the host Los Angeles Clippers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 101-72, bouncing back on the second night of back-to-back games.
Paul also had nine assists and six rebounds. The 76ers lost their 14th in a row on the road.
Carson, Felix lead Sun Devils to win
NIT: Jahii Carson had 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and Carrick Felix added 21 points and seven rebounds as Arizona State (22-12) beat Detroit (20-13) 83-68 in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament in Tempe, Ariz.
• Baylor buries Long Beach State: Brady Heslip scored 26 points while making eight 3-pointers and Baylor (19-14) hit a season-high 16 shots from long range in a 112-66 victory over Long Beach State (19-14) in a first-round game at Waco, Texas.
Kris Gulley had 13 points to lead Big West regular-season champion Long Beach State, coached by Dan Monson, Gonzaga’s former head coach.
• Mercer whips Vols: Travis Smith scored 25 points to match his career high as Mercer (24-11) defeated second-seeded Tennessee (20-13) 75-67 in a first-round game at Knoxville, Tenn.
Anaheim wins battle of NHL’s top teams
NHL: Ryan Getzlaf set up Bobby Ryan’s tying goal and Teemu Selanne’s tiebreaker 1:04 apart late in the third period, and the Anaheim Ducks rallied for a 4-2 victory over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks in a meeting of the NHL’s top two teams.
The Ducks extended their franchise-record home winning streak to 13 games in dramatic fashion. Anaheim pulled within three points of Chicago atop the overall NHL standings.
• Wild win fourth straight: Devin Setoguchi had two goals, and the streaking Minnesota Wild beat the host Detroit Red Wings 4-2 for their fourth straight win.
• Sharks win shootout: Logan Couture scored twice in regulation and added a shootout goal, and Dan Boyle netted the tiebreaker winner in the San Jose Sharks’ 4-3 victory over the host Edmonton Oilers.
BYU women defeat Idaho State in WNIT
Miscellany: Jennifer Hamson scored a career-high 25 points and Brigham Young (22-10) rolled to a 69-54 victory over Idaho State (19-13) 69-54 in the first round of the Women’s NIT at Provo, Utah.
Ashleigh Vella had 15 points, and five assists for Idaho State.
• Quintana takes thrid stage: Nairo Quintana of Colombia won the third stage of the Volta a Catalunya, while Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde took the overall lead at Setcases, Spain.
Normally division championships are celebrated with champagne showers in the locker room. The Spokane Indians settled for cheering and high fives on a crowded bus.
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