Heat clinch best record in East
NEW ORLEANS — Two nights after having their streak snapped, LeBron James and the Miami Heat looked ready to start a new run.
James scored 36 points, hitting six consecutive 3-pointers in less than six minutes during the first half, and the Miami Heat rebounded from their first loss in nearly two months to beat the New Orleans Hornets 108-89 on Friday night.
The Heat, whose 27-game winning streak ended in Chicago on Wednesday, clinched the top seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs. James kept shooting 3-pointers after making his first one with 1:55 left in the first quarter, and he did not miss until he already had set a season high with his sixth.
“It was one of those nights, so I just kept it going,” James said. “We had a three-on-one break and Mike passed to me, and I stopped for a 3. I hadn’t done that probably since high school or the early years with Cleveland. I felt good. Just tried to keep the Heat wave going.”
James finished with seven 3s — one shy of his career high — as the crowd at the New Orleans Arena cheered louder and louder after giving him a mixed reception before the game.
Dwyane Wade added 17 points and seven assists for the Heat. Norris Cole scored 12 points and Chris Bosh 10.
But James was the show after drawing fire for complaining about what he thought were a couple of unnecessarily hard fouls by Chicago. He shrugged off criticism from the Bulls’ Taj Gibson and Boston general manager Danny Ainge, who said he should not have complained about the fouls on Wednesday, then slammed the door on the Hornets.