Heat drop Nets to stretch win streak to 13

NEW YORK: The Miami Heat rallied for a 108-99 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday to stretch their NBA winning streak to 13 games — the longest in the league this season.
The Heat, edging ever closer to a playoff spot, have now gone one better than the league-leading Golden State Warriors, whose 12-game winning streak from November 4-28 had been the longest of the season.
It’s the third-longest streak in the history of the Florida franchise. The Heat haven’t lost since January 13, and the 13 wins they have put up in less than a month are more than the 11 they earned in the first three months of the season.
Reserve James Johnson scored a season-high 26 points, coming within one point of his career high, as the Heat notched their third win over the Nets in the streak.
“He’s been making great contributions all year long,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said of Johnson.
“He fills in so many gaps off the bench for us with the energy, the toughness and we play him literally one through five defensively but offensively you see his versatility. He’s in the best shape of his career. He’s just been absolutely pure about contributing to a team.”
Goran Dragic added 21 points for the Heat, who outscored the Nets 50-30 over the final 19:24. Brook Lopez scored 30 points and added eight rebounds for the Nets, who were doomed by 22 turnovers and endured their 12th successive defeat.
Although Brooklyn connected on 55.6 per cent of their shots in the fourth quarter, they committed seven turnovers — including three in three straight possessions during a 44-second stretch.
For the second straight time in Brooklyn the Heat overcame a double-digit deficit.
A fortnight after they rallied from 18 down, Miami battled back tenaciously from an 11-point third-quarter deficit on Friday.
The Heat tied the game at 72-72 with a minute remaining in the third when Tyler Johnson beat Justin Hamilton for an offensive rebound and subsequent putback.
Miami took their first lead since the first quarter when Johnson sank two free throws, and the Nets wouldn’t lead again.

Defensive-minded Draymond Green delivered an unprecedented triple-double on Friday as the Golden State Warriors turned the tables on a Memphis Grizzlies team that had beaten them twice this season.
Green had 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals for the first triple-double in NBA history that didn’t include double-digit points.
Green scored only four, but with team-mate Klay Thompson scoring 36, Kevin Durant adding 24 and Stephen Curry contributing 18, Green knew he could contribute elsewhere in the 122-107 triumph.
“I’ve always said that’s what I have to do on this team — I have to bring it on the defensive end,” said Green, who also blocked five shots. “A lot of guys on this team can score. We don’t need me to score. Some games I’ll score, some games I won’t — I can always defend.”
Green’s 10 steals were a record for the Warriors, who had fallen 110-89 to Memphis in December and three weeks later squandered a 24-point lead to fall 128-119 to the Grizzlies in overtime. — AFP