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The Heat Win. Again., Day No. 3 in the Big East Tournament

It was an ugly win but the Miami Heat (49-14) defeated the Philadelphia 76ers (24-40) on Wednesday. The team now has 20 straight wins and is only the fourth team in NBA history to do so in one season.

This short list includes the Milwaukee Bucks in 1970-71 (20), the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971-72 (33) and the Houston Rockets in 2007-2008 (22). The Washington Capitols can also join this list as they won 20 consecutive games but it started at the end of the 1947-48 season through the beginning of the next season, 1948-49.

Hard to believe it was just one week ago, the Chicago Blackhawks shared headlines with the Heat for their own streak. Since then, they have a two-game loss streak and the injury bug has hit them.

Heat Forward LeBron James

Heat Forward LeBron James

But for the Heat, LeBron James keeps having fun and continues scoring. During this streak, James has been averaging 26.6 points; he comes in behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (29.8) and Gail Goodrich (26.8) who averaged more points when playing on a team with a 20-game or more win streak, reported ESPN.

The team has been humble about their wins but after the game on Wednesday, Dwyane Wade admitted it was a great milestone. He said, “Twenty is special. Win 20 games in a row, it’s awesome. You can’t get around it. We’re going to try to go for the next one.”

For the night Wade scored 21 points but James was again the team’s leading scorer with 27 points.

In the next week, continuing the streak may be challenging as the Heat are on five-game road trip that began with the 76ers. They’ll have the day off on Thursday, then they’ll travel to play the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. Then it’s up to Toronto on Sunday.

While the streak is impressive, you know this team would really like another Championship ring. They’re +115 to do so.

Big East Hoops Tournament

Over in college hoops, it’s conference tournament time and there’s some good games going on as teams look to secure their bids and seeds.

The Big East as we know it will be done after this season. On Thursday, there’s some intriguing games to enjoy from this challenging conference and for some, a loss will end their Big East tenure.

For your lunchtime viewing, there’s #17 Pittsburgh (24-7, 12-6) vs. #19 Syracuse (24-8, 11-7) at 2 p.m. ET.

James Southerland edits

Syracuse forward James Southerland

Both teams are joining the ACC next season so you’ll see them playing each other again but it won’t be at Madison Square Garden.

That’s unfortunate as the Panthers play well in this venue. In the last 13 years, they’re 30-15 including two of three wins during this season.

The team will enter the game well rested after its double bye and with a strong record against Syracuse, winning 14 of their last 18 matchups. This includes one on Feb. 2 back when the Orange had a No. 6 ranking.

The Panthers Tray Woodall had 13 points in the game and the team wouldn’t let Syracuse score, holding them to 36.7 percent shooting. They also had the advantage in rebounding at 39-24.

Syracuse will come to the game from a 75-63 win over Seton Hall on Wednesday. They started slowly and entered halftime tied at 34. Adjustments were made and they had a strong offensive effort in the second half. James Southerland had 20 points, followed by Brandon Triche with 17 points and C.J. Fair at 16 points. Michael Carter Williams had 14 assists.

The Orange will need this same level play to achieve success against the Panthers. In their last meeting, they were without Southerland, the team’s leading scorer and Carter Williams only had two assists.

For this game, Pittsburgh has a slight winning nod (-2) but it has 19 to 4 odds to win the tournament while Syracuse sits at 5 to 1.

Other Big East action will include #24 Notre Dame vs. #12 Marquette at 9:00 p.m. ET. The Fighting Irish are 18 to 1 while the Golden Eagles are 10 to 1 as tournament winners.







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