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Heat nearing history

Book Lists Heat's Winning Streak at Over/Under 29 Games

What seemed nearly impossible just a few weeks ago now seems perhaps inevitable as the Miami Heat continue their push toward the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers' NBA record of 33 consecutive victories.

Miami rallied from 17 points down for the biggest comeback win of the streak to beat Boston 105-103 on Monday night and reach 23 in a row (14-9 ATS), breaking a tie for No. 2 all-time. It was the Heat's first regular-season win in Beantown in the past 11 tries. Their previous biggest comeback was rallying from 16 points down to win March 3 at New York.

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Monday's game was the eighth Miami victory by seven points or fewer in the run. The Heat, led by LeBron James, scored 22 of the game's final 29 points against a Celtics team missing All-Stars Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett. LeBron hit the game-winner with 10 seconds left and finished with 37 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. During the streak, he is averaging 26.9 points (57.1% from the field), 7.9 rebounds and 7.7 assists.

Many had circled the Boston game as to where the streak might end, but now the Heat will be favored in their next six games: Wednesday at Cleveland (with Cavs star Kyrie Irving out injured), Friday versus Detroit, Sunday against Charlotte, March 25 at Orlando, March 27 at Chicago and March 29 at New Orleans. Only the Bulls have a winning record among that group - could Derrick Rose be back for Chicago by that game?

If the Heat take care of business in those games, they will be going for No. 30 on March 31 at San Antonio, which has one of the best home marks in the NBA at 28-4. However, the Spurs have looked a tad vulnerable of late without injured All-Star point guard Tony Parker. Teams are averaging 104.5 points per 100 possessions and shooting 46% from the field against the Spurs in the past seven games without Parker, compared to 98.1 per 100 and 43.9% in the first 60 games.

Parker sprained his ankle at the beginning of this month, meaning he should return by San Antonio's March 29 matchup against the Clippers if on schedule. That's San Antonio's final game before hosting Miami. There's actually talk Parker could return this weekend after practicing Tuesday.

The book has released updated Heat props. Their winning streak is now set at over/under 29 games (both at -120). That they will set the NBA record of 34 straight wins is +600. Following visiting the Spurs, Miami hosts the Knicks, visits Charlotte and hosts Philadelphia and Milwaukee - the Bucks game would be No. 34.

"The Heat are always a heavily bet team and due to their current streak, their spreads are reflecting this. I wouldn't say they are more heavily bet on a daily basis on the spread. However, even at 11/10, they are still seeing the highest volume of money wagered on them to win the title," Bovada Sportsbook manager Kevin Bradley said.

That Miami will win out the rest of the regular season is at +1000. The real question might be whether the team would even attempt such a thing. The Heat should have home-court advantage locked up with a week or two left in the regular season and could choose to rest LeBron, Dwyane Wade and/or Chris Bosh.

Could Knicks Lose Atlantic Lead This Week?

The New York Knicks got a big win at struggling Utah on Monday night to end a four-game losing streak, but the news isn't all good. All-Star center Tyson Chandler will miss another week or so with a small bulging disk in his neck area. Chandler has missed the past three games with the injury and is by far the team's best defensive player. He averages 10.7 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. Backup big man Kurt Thomas, who played a season-high 26 minutes Monday, will miss 2-4 weeks with a foot problem.

Without Amar'e Stoudemire for the rest of the regular season, the New York frontcourt is down to essentially Kenyon Martin, who was recently signed off the street, and injury-plagued Marcus Camby. The Knicks are hopeful to get back Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday night against Orlando. He has missed the past three games with a knee problem.

The Nets have closed within a game of New York for the Atlantic Division lead and No. 3 seed in the East. The question is whether Brooklyn can take advantage of the Knicks' injury problems as the Nets are in the midst of a season-high eight-game road trip. They visit Dallas, the Clippers and Portland to close this week.

Look for Kobe to Play Friday

Think the Los Angeles Lakers are a different team without Kobe Bryant? The future Hall of Famer missed his second-straight game Monday with the flu and a sprained ankle, and the Lakers were crushed 99-76 at Phoenix, one of the worst teams in the Western Conference. It was the franchise's fourth-worst loss to an under-.500 team since Bryant joined the Lakers.

The Lakers are now off until they host Washington on Friday, which would give Kobe seven days off to recover. They still hold a game lead over Utah for the final playoff spot in the West. The Lakers also could get Pau Gasol back on Friday. He has missed the past 20 games because of a foot injury.

Coach Mike D'Antoni says Gasol will replace Earl Clark in the starting lineup whenever he is ready. Clark was a pleasant surprise much of the season but is averaging just 7.1 points on 38.7% shooting in March.

There will be no NBA Live Betting games this weekend because of the NCAA Tournament.

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