ORLANDO, Fla. — LeBron James left one rebound shy of a triple-double, feigning a bit of frustration as he checked out of the game.
That’s about all the Miami Heat could complain about these days.
James finished with 24 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, and the Heat won their 27th straight game by running away in the final minutes to beat the Orlando Magic 108-94 on Monday night.
Mario Chalmers scored 17, and Chris Bosh and Ray Allen each added 12 for Miami, which broke open a tie game with a 13-0 run spanning the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters. Miami eventually pushed the lead to 20 before Heat coach Erik Spoelstra emptied the bench in what became his 250th win with the team.
The Heat now are within six games of matching the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the longest winning streak in NBA history.
Jameer Nelson had 27 points and 12 assists for the Magic, who got 20 points from Tobias Harris.
A 20-2 run over 4½ minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters was all it took for Miami to take control for good, and beat the Magic for the third time in three meetings this season — after surviving a pair of earlier nail-biters.
It’s now the second-longest winning streak in American major sports, behind only the Lakers’ run. Baseball’s New York Giants won 26 straight games in 1916, the New England Patriots took 21 consecutive NFL games in 2003 and 2004, and the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins won 17 consecutive times in 1993.
For the Heat, it’s 27 and counting.
This one, like so many others lately, hardly came easily, with Miami not putting the game away until the second half.
Both teams were missing key components, Dwyane Wade for Miami and Nik Vucevic for Orlando.
Wade missed his second straight game with a sore right knee, and will be listed as day-to-day before the game in Chicago on Wednesday.
Vucevic sat his third straight game while dealing with a mild concussion. A 9-2 run early in the third gave Miami what was then its biggest lead, 64-53. Instead of deflating the Magic, it seemed to almost inspire the hosts, who answered with probably their best 5-minute stretch of the game, capped by a 3-pointer by Nelson with 3 minutes left that tied the game at 68-all.
And when James missed a layup at the other end, then got called for a foul after the rebound, Orlando may very well have been thinking that the streak could soon be snapped.
Miami needed only two minutes to close the quarter with 10 unanswered points, with James doing either the orchestrating or performing. He got loose on a curl for a dunk to start the run, and the Heat took off.
Chris Andersen — the Heat are now 29-1 when he plays — got Miami the ball with a spectacular block against Maurice Harkless. James then cleared everyone out to drive on Harkless, score and get fouled for a three-point play.