NBA scores: Heat streak continues, Lakers and Jazz lose

USA TODAY Sports

The Heat won their 23rd in a row, although they needed a huge rally and a game-winner from LeBron James to do it, while the Lakers and Jazz lost equally embarrassing games in the Western Conference playoff race.

It was a pretty wild night in the NBA with 11 games, more than one of which came down to the last few seconds of play. Let's take a look around, starting with some of the bigger games:

Heat 105, Celtics 103

You know, for a while there, it really seemed like the Miami Heat would actually lose a game.

Entering Boston on the back of 22 straight wins and facing a Boston squad without Kevin Garnett, the Heat (52-14) won as expected, but not in the way one might have imagined. Jeff Green had the most brilliant outing of his career -- a career-high 43 points on just 21 shots, drilling five threes on seven attempts, finishing in all sorts of traffic, hitting shots in the paint off the dribble -- and Boston (36-30) seemed the commanding squad for most of this one. A 17-0 run gave Boston a 12-point lead in the first quarter and pushed that lead to 17 in the second.

But the Heat stayed around. They opened the second half on a 8-0 run to take their first lead since the game's opening minutes, and after trailing by as much as 13 in the fourth quarter, they rallied back to tie the score. And with the game tied, LeBron James squared up Green and launched a 22-footer with 10 seconds on the clock and drilled it. Paul Pierce's three for the win would come up short, and the Heat would hold on for the win behind James' 37 points, 12 assists, and seven rebounds. That 23-game win streak is the second-longest in NBA history, with only 10 to go to catch the 1971-72 Lakers' 33-game streak.

Oh, and LeBron James did a very mean thing to Jason Terry.

Nuggets 119, Bulls 118 (OT)

The Nuggets also seemed on the verge of having a losing streak snapped, but the referees disallowed Joakim Noah's apparent game-winner, giving the Nuggets their franchise-best 12th consecutive win.

The Nuggets (46-22) had led by as much as 14 behind a strong performance from Wilson Chandler and a heavy dose of second-chance opportunities, beating Chicago, 20-12, on the offensive glass. But after trailing by eight with under four minutes to go, Chicago (36-30) hacked into the lead and sent it to overtime.

There it remained pretty even, with a three by Andre Iguodala giving the Nuggets a one-point lead with just seven seconds on the clock. The Bulls turned to Marco Belinelli, who has come through with several game-winners for them on the year. His shot was well short, but an opportunistic Noah grabbed it on the way down and laid it in to give his team the lead with 1.7 seconds left -- or so they thought. Referees reviewed the play and ruled Noah's rebound offensive goaltending, infuriating a Chicago squad that thought Denver's Kosta Koufos had done the same thing on a play minutes before.

Chandler finished with 35 points for the second time on the Nuggets' win streak, while Andre Miller had a season-high 13 assists. Nate Robinson led the Bulls with 34 points and seven assists, although he added seven turnovers to that tally.

Suns 99, Lakers 76

How good are the Lakers without Kobe Bryant? Apparently, they're 23 points worse than the second-worst team in the Western Conference. Luis Scola had all 14 of his points and most of his nine rebounds in the fourth quarter as the Suns (23-45) dominated Los Angeles (36-33) in the final period, outscoring them, 28-10. Matched up against the twin towers of Jermaine O'Neal and Hamed Haddadi, Dwight Howard had 16 points on 18 shots to go along with 11 rebounds, while Metta World Peace finished with 12 points on 17 shots in a dismal offensive performance. The Lakers shot just 29-for-87 from the field while hitting only 5-of-22 threes on the evening, and missed an opportunity to add a game on the Utah Jazz in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Knicks 90, Jazz 83

Somehow, Utah's loss in the fight for that last playoff spot was about as embarrassing as Los Angeles'. The Jazz (34-33) were facing a Knicks squad without Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler, a team that had lost all four of its games on a West Coast road trip by double digits. The New York Knicks started Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, Chris Copeland, and Kenyon Martin, exactly one of whom was in their starting lineup as they became a popular choice to make noise in the Eastern Conference earlier in the year.

The Jazz dominated on the offensive glass, as they should have, snagging 19 of their misses against just eight for New York, but turned the ball over 17 times and were frigid, shooting 38.2 percent on the game. J.R. Smith scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, and a 40-year-old Kurt Thomas, who was diagnosed with bone spurs earlier Monday, was seen outhustling the hypothetically spryer Jazz in the fourth quarter, giving New York (39-26) the win. The Jazz remain a game back of the Lakers.

Sixers 101, Blazers 100

The Sixers (26-40) really wanted the Blazers (31-35) to have this one, squandering a 14-point lead and throwing away an inbounds pass as Jrue Holiday fell with his team holding a one-point lead and less than 10 seconds on the clock, but LaMarcus Aldridge's game-winner missed. Spencer Hawes continued a stint of strong play with 18 points and 13 boards, while Jrue Holiday had 27 to go along with eight boards and six assists. Damian Lillard was red hot, drilling five threes -- including one to make the score 101-100 -- to finish with 27, while Aldridge finished with game highs of 32 points and 14 boards, but the rest of the squad was more absent than usual.

Pacers 111, Cavaliers 90

Gerald Green had one of his nicest outings of the year, scoring 20 on surprisingly deft 4-for-7 shooting from downtown to lead the Pacers without David West, who was out with a sprained lower back. The Pacers (41-26) outscored Cleveland (22-45), 60-38, between the second and third quarters, and that would be enough for the win here.

Bobcats 119, Wizards 114

Defense was not as a premium for most of the night, but the Bobcats (15-52) buckled down on one end and scored some hoops for the other as part of a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter. Gerald Henderson led the way with 27 points and eight assists, while Kemba Walker had nine of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, ending a three-game winning streak for Washington (23-45). Nene's 21 points, seven boards, and seven assists was the best line for a Wizard.

Nets 119, Pistons 82

The Nets opened up a potentially season-defining eight-game road trip with a monster win over the Pistons, leading by as much as 43 behind 31 points from Deron Williams. It helped that Detroit (23-46) was 1-for-18 from three-point range. The win allowed Brooklyn (39-28) to stay just a game back of the Knicks in the Atlantic Division.

Mavericks 127, Hawks 113

Dallas (32-35) shot a whopping 57.3 percent from the field, scoring 30 points in three quarters and outgunning the Hawks on a night both offenses showed up to play. Darren Collison led Dallas with 24, while Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points on just 11 shots, while Atlanta (37-30) had eight scorers in double digits but none with more than 20 points.

Warriors 93, Hornets 72

Stephen Curry hit twice as many threes as the opposition on less than half as many attempts, going 6-of-9 from downtown, following up on a 29-point outing Sunday night with a 30-point performance as Golden State (39-30) notched its second straight win by 20 or more points. New Orleans (22-46) shot just 33.7 percent, scoring just 14 points in the second quarter and just 11 points in the fourth.

Grizzlies 92, Timberwolves 77

Memphis (45-21) bounced back from losing two games in a row with an easy win in its return home, with Zach Randolph and Tayshaun Prince each managing double-doubles while Mike Conley led the way with 20 points. Alexey Shved was the high scorer for Minnesota (23-42) with 12 points, which says most of what you need to know about the team's dismal shooting night.

More in the NBA:

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How MJ helped Gerald Henderson

The brilliance of Marc Gasol

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Kentucky’s NBA draft bubble

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