Basketball - Miami's run ends at 27 after defeat to Bulls

Miami Heat's 27-game winning streak in the NBA ended when they were beaten by the Chicago Bulls at a raucous United Center.

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Basketball - Miami's run ends at 27 after defeat to Bulls
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Ray Allen #34 and Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat confer during a timeout in the game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center (AFP)

Bulls 101, Heat 97

The Bulls won 101-97 at home to hand the NBA champions their first defeat since February 1.

Miami's 27 consecutive wins was the second longest winning streak in the NBA.

Only the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who won 33 in a row, had a longer winning sequence in any of America's professional sports, and after the loss, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra reflected on a remarkable accomplishment.

"I had everyone come in and put a hand on each other," Spoelstra said. "It was the first time I had mentioned the streak.

"It was a heck of an experience to have together. Its significance will mean much more to us later in our careers. I asked them all to share the moment with each other."

Playing without center Joakim Noah, guard Marco Belinelli, guard Richard Hamilton and Derrick Rose, the Bulls got 28 points from Luol Deng, while Carlos Boozer compiled 21 points and 17 rebounds.

Boozer came up with the biggest basket for Chicago, fighting off two opponents to grab an offensive rebound, then following it in to make the score 96-89 with 57 seconds remaining.

Nate Robinson put the game out of reach with a drive down the lane and a floater with 30.2 seconds on the clock, while LeBron James hung on the rim after trying to block the shot.

"It didn't matter who they were playing, everyone was following the streak," Deng said. "So it's great. It's a good feeling to say we're the ones who ended their streak before they broke the record."

James led Miami with 32 points, while Chris Bosh scored 21 and Dwyane Wade had 18.

The game was physical throughout. James was called for a flagrant foul against Boozer, his former Cleveland teammate, with 3:52 remaining.

After leading by as many as 13 points in the first half, Chicago clung to a 69-68 edge heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bulls created some space with a 6-0 run, then added a pair of 3-pointers from Deng and a corner 3-pointer by Jimmy Butler to take an 86-79 lead with 5:13 remaining.

"We were much more competitive in that second half," Spoelstra said.

"However, we were in a make or miss situation in the fourth quarter and just couldn't do it. Give them credit, though, they made big plays at the end."

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Lakers 120, Timberwolves 117

In their first game without injured forward Metta World Peace, the Los Angeles Lakers did what they always do. They beat the Timberwolves, this time 120-117.

Dwight Howard, intimidating the Wolves all game, had a monster night with 25 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and five blocks.

Kobe Bryant had 31 points and seven assists, Antawn Jamison scored 18 off the bench and Paul Gasol scored 16.

The Lakers (37-35) had lost their previous three games and are battling for a Western Conference play-off spot, so it was a much-needed win. But it was hardly unexpected.

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Clippers 105, Hornets 91

Blake Griffin scored 19 points, leading five players in double figures, and the Los Angeles Clippers made a dozen 3-pointers to defeat the New Orleans Hornets 105-91.

The Clippers (49-23) had lost 11 of their previous 12 road games against the Hornets, but they made the Hornets pay for a collapsing defense with their sizzling perimeter shooting and also made 24 of 28 free throw attempts.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak by the Hornets (25-47).

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Thunder 103, Wizards 80

Kevin Martin came off the bench to score 18 points as Oklahoma City defeated Washington 103-80.

The win was the third in a row for the Thunder and sixth in their last eight games as they continue to battle San Antonio for the top spot in the West Conference.

The injury ravaged Wizards (26-45) suffered only their third defeat in past nine outings. After a competitive first half, they fell apart on both ends of the court in the second half.

Oklahoma City held the Wizards to 35 second half points.

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Pacers 100, Rockets 91

Two nights after proving their mettle with a shorthanded win over the Atlanta Hawks, the Indiana Pacers led the Houston Rockets wire to wire for a 100-91 victory.

Missing starting forwards Danny Granger (left knee) and David West (lower back), the Pacers (45-27) relied on balanced scoring and their usual brand of suffocating defense to sweep their season series with the Rockets (39-32), who closed a season-long seven-game homestand at 5-2.

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Knicks 108, Grizzlies 101

J.R. Smith scored 35 points to lead the New York Knicks to their fifth straight win as they barely held off the Memphis Grizzlies 108-101 in a game that featured a surprisingly tense final few minutes.

The Knicks watched a 30-point, second-half lead fall to four late in the fourth quarter, but they held on for the victory at Madison Square Garden.

Carmelo Anthony scored 22 and Iman Shumpert added 16 for the Knicks (44-26), who were again without injured center Tyson Chandler.

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Celtics 93, Cavaliers 92

Forward Jeff Green's driving layup at the buzzer powered the Boston Celtics' 93-92 victory over the Cavaliers.

The Celtics (37-34) snapped a five-game losing streak with Green's heroics. He finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Forward Brandon Bass had a game-high 22 points and added five rebounds for the Celtics, who were playing without Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Courtney Lee.

The Cavs (22-48) had a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter.

They still were up by 10 with 5 minutes, 48 seconds left. Poor execution and missed shots down the stretch led to their sixth consecutive loss and 10th in the last 12 games.

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Bobcats 114, Magic 108

Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker scored 34 points each as the Charlotte Bobcats beat the Orlando Magic 114-108.

The Bobcats scored 10 straight points after trailing 106-104 going into the final four minutes, and wound up holding the Magic scoreless on seven straight possessions down the stretch.

Bismack Biyombo's dunk with 2:31 remaining gave the Bobcats the lead for good at 108-106 with 2:31 remaining.

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Hawks 107, Raptors 88

The Atlanta Hawks used a dominating fourth quarter to clinch a play-off spot for the sixth consecutive season.

Tied after three quarters, the Hawks outscored the Toronto Raptors 32-13 in the fourth to pull out a 107-88 win.

Atlanta's Al Horford and Jeff Teague led the scoring with 26 and 24 points, respectively. Five Raptors scored in double digits, led by Jonas Valanciunas, who had 19 points.

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76ers 100, Bucks 92

Spencer Hawes and Dorell Wright combined for 13 points in a critical 15-0 fourth quarter flurry as the Philadelphia 76ers rallied to beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 100-92.

Jrue Holiday and Damien Wilkins scored 18 points apiece to pace Philadelphia (28-43), which had lost three of its previous four. Hawes had 15 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, while Wright and Thaddeus Young scored 14 each.

Monta Ellis scored 29 points for Milwaukee (34-36), which lost its fourth straight but remains the Eastern Conference's eighth seed, 6.5 games ahead of the ninth-seeded Sixers.

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