By recent Miami Heat standards, Monday night's win counts as close.
The Heat trailed early and waited until the end of the third quarter to make their move, winning by double figures for the ninth game in a row by beating New Orleans, 96-84, in Miami.
Dwyane Wade scored 32 points, topping 30 for the third consecutive game, and Chris Bosh added 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Miami is now the sixth team in NBA history to win nine straight games by at least 10 points or more. Only three teams - the 2007-08 Rockets, 2003-04 Nets, and 1946-47 Washington Capitals - have won 10 straight by at least 10 points.
Elsewhere: The Bucks erased a huge deficit and ended the Dallas Mavericks' win streak at 12 with a 103-99 decision in Milwaukee. The Bucks used a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter to clinch a game they once trailed by 20. Dirk Nowitzki missed a potential tying bucket late in regulation for the Mavs, whose last loss was on November 17. . . . Zach Randolph had 25 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Grizzlies to their third straight win, 86-73, over visiting Portland. . . . In Chicago, the Bulls got their sixth straight win behind Carlos Boozer's 22 points and 18 rebounds. This time, the Pacers were the victims, 92-73.
New Jersey Nets rookie forward Damion James is expected to be sidelined up to two months after having surgery to repair a broken right foot. He will be on crutches for two weeks and out six to eight.
With the Knicks having won eight in a row and 13 of their last 14 games, Hall of Famer and New York Knicks color commentator Walt Frazier told the New York Times he's got to find some new material. "I have to come up with some new rhymes now," Frazier said about the Muhammad Ali-style lines that he uses as the analyst for the team's games on MSG. "They're no longer the stumbling, bumbling, fumbling Knicks."
Charlotte's Gerald Wallace on owner Michael Jordan and coach Larry Brown's pathetic Bobcats:
"With all due respect to Michael, it's not embarrassing to him. It's embarrassing to us and our families. We're the ones out there on the court playing lackadaisical, playing like we don't care, with no effort and no fight."