Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers were on the cusp of a historic win to end the Miami Heat’s 23-game winning streak. The Cavs were by 27-points at one stage of the game, and then LeBron James showed the world, again, that when he chooses; he’s unstoppable on the court.
The game had been a blowout through much of the first three quarters. LeBron had just seven points with a little more than seven minutes left in the third quarter. As the third quarter started to wind down, James began to hit the gas and took over in a way only he can.
Each time Miami made it down the court, it looked like the Heat were slowly sucking the life out of the Cavaliers. Miami kept eating away at the massive lead held by the Cavaliers and Cleveland went cold to start the fourth quarter.
LeBron tied the game at 77 when he nailed a three pointer with just over 10 minutes left in the game. After a quick bucket from Shaun Livingston, LeBron again drilled a three-pointer to finally give the Heat the lead, 80-77.
Cleveland didn’t score for almost four minutes and Miami opened a six point lead. After that, the Cavs and the fans in Cleveland and Miami knew the game was out of reach for the Cavaliers and that Miami’s winning streak was going to be extended to 24 straight.
While the game finished with a 98-95 score, the simple fact was that once the Heat, and especially James, decided they were ready to play, they were unstoppable. If Miami can bring that type of intensity every night in the playoffs, there’s not a team in the NBA that can stop them.
“This was one of the most bizarre, unique days of my life with everything that happened,” James said. “It also was one of the best comebacks I’ve ever been a part of.”
James’ signature moment came when the he tied the score at 77 with a 3-pointer. He stood stone-faced and gave the crowd in Cleveland a stare so that they knew they were witnessing greatness.
“When he made that one and turned around and looked at the crowd, you knew it was coming,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said.
James and his teammates have insisted the Lakers’ record, once believed to be untouchable but now within their reach, isn’t a goal. The 33-game winning streak the Lakers reeled off in the 1971-72 season has been the measuring stick for great teams.
But it’s never been more in danger than it is right now with a focused Heat team staring history in the face.
The win completed a five-game road trip, dubbed “The Reunion Tour” by James because Miami visited Wade’s home in Milwaukee, Chris Bosh’s former team in Toronto and Ray Allen’s in Boston.
“The streak wasn’t on my mind, but us getting blown out was,” James said. “I was going to be the only guy to take an ‘L’ on the reunion tour.”
The game, and comeback for the ages, showed just how tough the Heat’s road to a 34 game winning streak has become. Every night, the Heat’s opponents will play with reckless abandon like it’s a Game 7 of the NBA Finals trying to stop the streak.
Eventually, the Heat will lose. The loss may not come in the next few games as the Heat play the Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Bobcats, and Orlando Magic. Three wins would push the streak to 27 straight with Miami heading to Chicago to play the Bulls.
Assuming the Heat can get past the Bulls and the next game against the New Orleans Hornets, the Heat would travel to San Antonio to play the Spurs in a possible NBA Finals preview. The Heat would be looking for win number 30 in a row at that point.