LeBron James scored 27 points and the Miami Heat became the fourth team to win at least 20 consecutive games in a season, rallying to beat the 76ers, 98-94, Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
Dwyane Wade added 21 as the Heat needed big baskets over the final two minutes to top the Sixers for the milestone win.
Only three teams have won at least 20 consecutive games in the same season: the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33), the 2007-08 Houston Rockets (22), and the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (20). The Washington Capitols also won 20 straight, spanning the end of the 1947-48 season and the start of the 1948-49 campaign.
Thaddeus Young had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Sixers.
James and the Heat have started to acknowledge just how special this winning streak is in a season that has them running away with the Eastern Conference.
They opened a five-game road trip as 8½-point favorites over the slumping Sixers, a team they've defeated three times during the streak. They beat Atlanta on Tuesday for streak win No. 19, then made the flight to Philadelphia that put them in just before dawn.
‘‘You get sleep when you can and do your job,’’ center Chris Bosh said before the game.
Maybe fatigue played a bit of a role in Miami’s inability to truly put away the Sixers.
Led by Young, the Sixers opened the third quarter on a 16-8 run that helped slice the lead to 4. Miami led, 71-66, at the end of the quarter.
The Sixers hung around in the fourth, too.
Dorell Wright hit a 3-pointer to make it a 6-point game and he followed with a steal and fast-break dunk to cut it 82-78.
Sixers fans coming to see a slice of history were suddenly rooting for history denied. Philadelphia’s fans started going wild to the ‘‘make some noise’’ sign on the video board and started singing the catchy anthem, ‘‘1-2-3-4-5-Sixers!’’
Jrue Holiday brought them back with a 3-pointer for an 83-82 lead with 5:26 left and had fans chanting, ‘‘Beat the Heat!’’
Hawks 96, Lakers 92 — Kobe Bryant (31 points) severely sprained his left ankle after missing a game-tying shot in the closing seconds of visiting Los Angeles’s loss to Atlanta.
The Lakers said he’s out indefinitely, just as the team is pushing for a playoff spot after a miserable start.
Devin Harris scored 17 points, Ivan Johnson hit a key basket, and the Hawks shook off a 20-point third quarter by Bryant, snapping a three-game losing streak.
The injury occurred after Bryant put up the baseline jumper with three seconds remaining. His left foot landed on defender Dahntay Jones’s right foot, twisting awkwardly as Bryant crumpled to the court.
He remained down for a few seconds, then hobbled to the bench. Bryant seemed perturbed that he couldn’t stay in the game, but he had to come out since the Lakers had no timeouts.
X-rays were negative.
Wizards 106, Bucks 93 — John Wall had 23 points and 10 assists to help rally host Washington over Milwaukee.
Grizzlies 96, Clippers 85 — Marc Gasol scored 21 points, Tayshaun Prince added 18, and visiting Memphis topped Los Angeles for its 14th victory in 15 games.
Nuggets 117, Knicks 94 — Carmelo Anthony’s return to the Pepsi Center was a flop when Wilson Chandler scored 24 points and host Denver blew out New York.
Warriors 105, Pistons 97 — Stephen Curry had 31 points and eight assists, David Lee added 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Golden State grinded out a win over Detroit in Oakland, Calif.
Thunder 110, Jazz 87 — Kevin Durant scored 23 points, Russell Westbrook added 19, and host Oklahoma City cruised past Utah.
Pacers 107, Timberwolves 91 — Roy Hibbert had a season-high 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead Indiana over Minnesota in Indianapolis.
Rockets 111, Suns 81 — Donatas Motiejunas scored a career-high 19 points to lead five starters in double figures as Houston routed visiting Phoenix.
Kings 121, Bulls 79 — Tyreke Evans had 26 points and seven assists and host Sacramento blew away Chicago for its most lopsided victory of the season.