Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat did everything they could to give Sunday’s game to the Cleveland Cavaliers, including blowing a 22-point lead. Still, the Heat found a way to notch a 109-105 victory and push the team’s winning streak to 11 straight.
The current streak has featured blowouts of top teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and a complete annihilation of the Chicago Bulls, but also a couple of weaker performances against the Charlotte Bobcats and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Miami’s 11-game winning streak has helped push the Heat to the top of the Eastern Conference with a 40-14 record on the season. The Heat now leads the Indiana Pacers by six games and the New York Knicks by six-and-a-half games.
The Heat has pulled it together despite a 16-11 road record. Miami is 8-1 against teams in the Southeast Division and 20-9 against Eastern Conference foes. Where Miami excels is inside the AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat is 24-3 on the season at the AAA.
“We’re a veteran ballclub and we’ve been in every situation that an NBA game can offer us,” James said. “We don’t get too high, we don’t get too low, we just play the 48 minutes out and see where it takes us.”
That calm demeanor has masked a determined Heat group set to prove that 2012 was no fluke and that they are the best team in the NBA.
Led by LeBron’s record-setting season, the Heat has four players averaging in double-figures this season. LeBron is averaging 27 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game. Dwyane Wade is averaging 21.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.7 assists; while Chris Bosh and Ray Allen are averaging 17.1 and 10.8 points per game respectively.
During the eleven game winning streak, the Heat have given up more than 100 points just four times and held the Bulls to just 67 points last Thursday in an 86-67 defensive masterpiece.
The Heat has a game against Sacramento Tuesday night followed by another home game against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Heat then head out on the road to play New York and Minnesota before returning to the AAA to play Orlando, Philly, Indiana, and Atlanta.
If Miami can get past the Kings, Grizzlies, and Knicks, the current team will tie the 2004-2005 Heat squad for the franchise’s longest winning streak at 14 straight. A victory over Minnesota would break the record if the Heat get to that point.