MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade hasn’t had a shooting streak like this since he was a rookie. The Miami Heat haven’t had a winning streak like this all season.
And the team with the NBA’s best record insists that better days are ahead.
Wade scored 27 points, LeBron James had 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and the Heat returned from a marathon road trip to beat the Orlando Magic 90-78 on Sunday for their sixth consecutive victory, each of them by double digits.
“We want to make sure that we’re keeping things in perspective, we’re staying humble and understanding that NBA adage -- you’re never quite as good as you think you are when you’re winning and you’re never quite as bad as you think you are when you’re losing,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And we are playing better, more consistent and we have taken another step forward as a basketball team.”
With former President Bill Clinton sitting courtside next to Heat managing general partner Micky Arison, Udonis Haslem scored 10 for the Heat, who improved to 25-7, a half-game better than Chicago for the best record in the NBA and the Eastern Conference. The 12-point final margin Sunday was Miami’s smallest during its current winning streak.
Wade made 13 of 23 shots from the floor, shooting 50 percent or better for the 10th straight game. He had an 11-game run of those nights as a rookie.
“Taking high-percentage shots,” Wade said. “And just in a groove.”
J.J. Redick, who was a late addition to Orlando’s starting lineup after Jason Richardson was scratched with chest pain that resembled heartburn, scored 17 points. Dwight Howard finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds and Glen Davis -- back in the Magic lineup after a one-game absence to attend his father’s funeral -- scored 12.
“They just played harder than us,” said Howard, whose team was the last to beat Miami. “They did do well tonight. They clogged the paint. They forced me to pass the ball out. It was a pretty good defensive effort. Every time I caught the ball in the paint, everyone was there.”
Quentin Richardson added 10 points for Orlando, which made 11 shots from 3-point range. The Magic had been 12-1 when connecting on at least that many this season.
“There are things we can do to play better,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “And I’m sure Erik feels there are things they can do better as well.”
Fueled by Wade scoring 12 points in the first seven minutes, Miami ran out to a 22-11 lead, the second straight game where the Magic faced a double-digit deficit in the opening quarter.
Just as they did two days earlier against Milwaukee, Orlando rallied. The Magic scored the next 13 points, 3-pointers from Redick and Quentin Richardson getting things started.
A 3-pointer from Ryan Anderson with 8:57 left in the half gave Orlando what was then its biggest lead at 27-24.
Good thing the Magic had that run. The rest of the half was downright abysmal.