ORLANDO, Fla. -- LeBron James badly missed a layup, got angry and committed a foul after the rebound. It was late in the third quarter, the game was tied and this Miami Heat winning streak seemed to be in jeopardy.
On the next possession, he threw down a fierce dunk.
Everything changed in that instant. The game became a runaway, and the Heat moved another step closer to the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers and the greatest streak in the history of the league.
James finished with 24 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, and the Heat won their 27th straight game by pulling away down the stretch to beat the Orlando Magic 108-94 on Monday night.
That dunk started what became a 20-2 run over merely a 4 1/2-minute portion of the third and fourth quarters, and it put the Heat in control for good.
"I missed some easy layups," James said. "That’s what makes me mad more than anything. I missed some easy layups. So for a scorer, getting a dunk, an easy one like a layup or a dunk, it helps."
He left one rebound shy of a triple-double, feigning disappointing. That’s about all the Heat could complain about afterward.
Mario Chalmers scored 17, and Chris Bosh and Ray Allen each added 12 for Miami, giving Heat coach Erik Spoelstra his 250th win and bringing the reigning NBA champions within six games of matching the Lakers for the longest winning streak in league history, a 33-game run that ended 41 years ago.
"We did enough late in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter to come away with this win," Spoelstra said. "That was some of our best in that fourth quarter on both ends of the court. ... Before that, it was a little bit of a sleepwalk."
Jameer Nelson had 27 points and 12 assists for the Magic, who got 20 points from Tobias Harris. And Magic coach Jacque Vaughn didn’t exactly seem to think after the game that Miami’s winning streak will end anytime soon.
"I’m far from the expert on that. ... That’s a very good ballclub led by a very good player," Vaughn said. "It’s impressive what they’re doing."
The four-game road trip for Miami continues in Chicago on Wednesday, followed by a Friday matchup in New Orleans -- which snapped Denver’s 15-game winning streak on Monday night. Miami’s trip ends Sunday in San Antonio.
It’s now the second-longest winning streak in American major sports, behind only the Lakers’ run. Baseball’s New York Giants won 26 straight games in 1916, the New England Patriots took 21 consecutive NFL games in 2003 and 2004, and the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins won 17 consecutive times in 1993.
"When they got rolling, we had to try to stop them," said Orlando’s Kyle O’Quinn. "But they got rolling too quick."
Both teams were missing key components, Dwyane Wade for Miami and Nik Vucevic for Orlando.