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Heat surges to 25th straight

– It’s become commonplace now, this trend of the Miami Heat getting off to slow starts and having to dig their way back from double-digit deficits.

Apparently, they do not mind.

LeBron James scored 29 points, Dwyane Wade added 19 and the Heat extended its winning streak to 25 games by pulling away in the second half and beating the Detroit Pistons 103-89 on Friday night.

Miami trailed by as much as 11 in the first half before moving within eight of tying the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the longest winning streak in NBA history. The Heat also won at home for the 16th straight time.

“We don’t get caught up in things like that, saying that we’re untouchable,” said James, who also finished with eight assists and eight rebounds. “We know we can be beat by anybody, any night, if we don’t come in with the mindset to play our game.”

Maybe they don’t always come in with that mindset in perfect order, but the Heat players clearly find a way to get to that place. Just this week alone, they rallied from 17 points down to win at Boston, then pulled off the wild 27-point, second-half comeback to prevail at Cleveland.

No real dramatics were needed Friday, especially after Miami allowed only 35 points after halftime.

“We were a little flat in the first half,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But in the second half, the urgency was much better, created a lot more opportunities off of our defense. I liked the way we finished the game.”

Miami’s magic number for clinching the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference is now three. The Heat also remained 1 1/2 games up on San Antonio, which needed overtime to beat Utah, for the league’s best record.

Greg Monroe finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds for Detroit, which dropped its 10th straight game. Jose Calderon had 18 points and seven assists, most of that coming in the first half for the Pistons.

James said Detroit caught Miami off-guard in the first half with some sets. A quick halftime adjustment or two, and the reigning champions looked like reigning champions again.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. This time of year, it’s going to be a dangerous team,” Spoelstra said.

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