1:00 PM ET, March 17, 2013
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON
TORONTO -- Back where their winning streak started on Super Bowl Sunday, the Miami Heat kept rolling right into March Madness.
Now it's on to Boston to face the rival Celtics -- the team who ended the last streak this long.
The Heat still have a ways to go before catching the 1971-72 Lakers, whose 33-game winning streak is the longest in NBA history. A look at the longest winning streaks:
|Los Angeles Lakers||1971-72||33|
The Heat equaled the second-longest winning streak in NBA history, pulling away in the fourth quarter Sunday to beat the Toronto Raptors 108-91 for their 22nd consecutive victory.
"It's a special ride right now that we're on," LeBron James said. "The best thing about it is we're doing it together."
James had 22 points and 12 rebounds for his career-best 32nd double-double of the season, Dwyane Wade had 24 points and nine assists, and Ray Allen scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for the defending NBA champions.
Miami will try to move into sole possession of second on Monday when it visits the Celtics -- who ended the Rockets' run five years ago and have won 11 in a row at home.
"If there's any group that would be motivated in a circumstance like this, it's that team in green," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I don't know if the streak will be a big factor but they love playing against us, and vice versa. That's what happens when you meet a team consecutively in the playoffs. There's a history there, and that's what makes these games special."
The Heat have faced the Celtics twice so far this season. They blew out Boston 120-107 in Miami on opening night, then lost 100-98 in double-overtime on the road on Jan. 27, the day Boston learned that Rajon Rondo needed knee surgery.
"They played better than us for a large part of that game," Spoelstra said.
Winners of two straight, the Celtics may be without veteran forward Kevin Garnett on Monday. The 15-time All-Star sat out Saturday's victory over Charlotte with a strained left thigh and is day to day.
"We have to treat them with the respect they deserve," Spoelstra said. "Regardless of who plays for them, that's a team that will come out with an incredible amount of urgency."
Wade called the looming matchup with Boston "a great challenge."
"I think we'll be ready for it," he said. "We've got to get our rest and we've got to know we're going to have a dog fight on our hands."
Heat forward Shane Battier, who played on the 2007-08 Rockets, inspired his teammates with a speech after their Feb. 3 win over Toronto. The 11-year veteran spoke again after Sunday's victory, an address that Spoelstra called "passionate" and "pure."
"Coach Riley gets paid close to six figures for his speeches," Spoelstra said, referring to former Heat coach and current team president Pat Riley. "I don't know what Shane should charge now, but he should get something."
Miami blew it open Sunday behind Allen's 3-point shooting after Toronto tied it at 77 early in the fourth quarter.
"Those (3-pointers) are what we feared for so many years (when Allen was with Boston)," Spoelstra said. "He can turn a game around just like that."
SportsNation: Heat's win streak
The Heat won their 22nd consecutive game on Sunday. Can they break the NBA record of 33 straight?
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Toronto is the third team with multiple losses to the Heat during the streak. Miami has beaten Philadelphia three times and Atlanta twice.
"You talk about a well-oiled machine, those guys are efficient both offensively and defensively," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "They do it in a classy way. They are well put together."
"We just ran out of gas," Johnson said.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 18 points, and Terrence Ross and DeMar DeRozan each had 12 for the Raptors, whose last victory over the Heat was a 111-103 home win on Jan. 27, 2010 -- when Bosh still played for Toronto and James was in Cleveland.
Toronto tied it at 77 on a pair of free throws by Gay less than a minute into the fourth but, even with James on the bench, Miami answered immediately. Allen hit a jumper, Norris Cole threw a half-court lob pass to Wade for an alley-oop dunk and Allen made a 3-pointer, giving Miami an 84-77 lead.
"It was a perfect pass," Wade said. "I don't really show a lot of emotions nowadays too much, but I got a little pumped up after that one."
After a Raptors timeout, Chris Andersen converted a three-point play and Wade made two free throws, capping a 12-0 run that put the Heat up 89-77 with 7:42 left.
James scored eight points and Bosh had seven in the first and Miami closed the quarter with an 8-2 run to lead 27-19 after one.
A layup from Bosh gave Miami a 49-33 lead with 2:37 left in the half. Toronto closed the gap with a 6-0 run, but a 3 by James with less than 3 seconds left put the Heat up 55-43 at the break.
Miami called timeout at 6:49 of the third after a layup by DeRozan cut it to 66-59, but Bosh answered with a 3 from the corner, restoring Miami's double-digit advantage.
Toronto fought back again in the final minutes of the third. After a dunk by Gay, DeRozan converted a three-point play with 1:52 left, making it 76-69. DeRozan, who missed 10 of his first 12 shots, made two jumpers in the final 1:14 as the Raptors cut it to 76-73 heading into the fourth.
James narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with eight assists. ... The Raptors outrebounded the Heat 51-26. ... Toronto has lost five straight home meetings with Miami. ... Former Raptor Morris Peterson attended the game.
TORONTO, CANADA - MARCH 17: Rudy Gay #22 of the Toronto Raptors goes to the basket during the game between the...(Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
Defining moment: Rudy Gay tied the game at 77-77 early in the fourth quarter, but the Heat went on a 12-0 run early so seal their 22nd straight win.
MVP: LeBron James controlled the pace for Miami, scoring 22 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and coming just two assists shy of a triple-double.
X factor: Ray Allen was unstoppable in the fourth quarter. After scoring just four points in the first three quarters, Allen knocked down four 3-pointers and scored 16 points in the final frame.
Next 5 Games
The Heat went on a 28-4 run from 11:08 to 4:02 of the fourth quarter after the Raptors tied the game at 77. The Heat sent James, Wade and Bosh to the bench after taking the 24-point lead. During the run... - LeBron James didn't attempt a shot or free throw. He did have 4 rebounds and 3 assists. - Ray Allen went 5-of-6 from the field (4-of-5 from 3-point range), scoring 16 of the Heat's 28 points. Allen went 3-of-5 shooting (0-of-1 from 3) the rest of the game. - The Heat outscored the Raptors by 4 inside the paint. The Raptors outscored the Heat by 28 inside the paint the rest of the game. - The Heat limited the Raptors to 2 offensive rebounds and 2 second-chance points. The Raptors had 22 offensive boards and 23 second-chance points the rest of the game. - The Raptors went 0-of-12 from outside the paint (Heat went 5-of-6). - Terrence Ross was the only Raptor to score[+]
Inside Heat 28-4 4th Quarter Run
The Heat outscored the Raptors by 14 in the fourth quarter Sunday, including a 28-4 run after the Raptors tied the game at 77. The Heat have been at their best in the fourth quarter during the 22-game win streak.[+]
Heat Point Differential by Quarter - During 22-Game Win Streak
ESPN Stats & Information