CLEVELAND, Ohio, EE.UU. (AP) — La racha ganadora de Miami estuvo en peligro de desaparecer, y para colmo, en Cleveland.

Pero LeBron James no se rindió.

"Ese muchacho no quiere perder en este edificio", comentó su compañero de equipo Dwayne Wade, inclinando la cabeza hacia James, quien ocasionó el enojo de muchos aficionados de los Cavaliers cuando firmó con Miami como agente libre hace tres años. "No esta noche", agregó Wade.

James anotó 25 puntos mientras el Heat de Miami remontaba de una desventaja de 27 tantos en el tercer cuarto para sumar su 24ta victoria consecutiva al derrotar el miércoles por 98-95 a unos mermados Cavaliers de Cleveland, ampliando la segunda más larga racha de triunfos en la historia de la NBA.

El Heat se encuentra a nueve victorias de empatar el record de 33 victorias seguidas impuesto por los Lakers de Los Angeles en la temporada 1971-72. Y pese a que en su momento llegó a ser considerada inalcanzable, la marca está ahora a su alcance.

James y sus compañeros han insistido en que la marca no es una de sus metas, y durante más de 30 minutos los campeones defensores parecían desinteresados y rumbo a perder por primera vez desde el 1 de febrero. Miami perdía 67-40 con 7:44 minutos por jugar en el tercer cuarto.

Pero de la mano del incontenible James, que agregó 12 rebotes y 10 asistencias en 42 minutos, el Heat se acercó a la historia al igualar la mayor remontada de la NBA de esta temporada, de acuerdo con STATS.

"Esta fue uno de los días más bizarros, únicos de mi vida con todo lo que sucedió", dijo James, refiriéndose a un recibimiento en el que un aficionado ingresó a la cancha corriendo y en el que el inicio del juego se demoró 35 minutos debido a problemas en el tablero de anotación. "Fue también una de las mejores recuperaciones en las que he participado", añadió.

James aportó con 14 puntos, siete rebotes, tres asistencias y dos robos de balón tan solo en el último cuarto mientras Miami remontaba por segundo juego en fila. El Heat perdía por 17 puntos —y por 13en el cuarto periodo— antes de venir de atrás y derrotar a Boston 105-103 el lunes y dejar atrás a los Rockets de Houston de la campaña 2007-08 como el equipo con la segunda racha de victorias más larga en la historia de la liga.

"Sabía que había mucho, tiempo, así que nunca entramos en pánico", dijo James. "Estábamos abajo por 27 con 18 minutos por jugar. Esa es toda una vida en basquetbol".

Pese a que los Cavaliers no contaron con Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters y el pivote brasileño Anderson Varejao —sus tres máximos anotadores_, llevaron a Miami al límite.

No fue hasta que James, en su cuarto partido de regreso en Cleveland desde que dejó al equipo como agente libre en 2010, encestó dos tiros libres a 4,7 segundos del final que Miami se pudo relajar, pero sólo un poco. Los Cavaliers tuvieron una última oportunidad de empatar el marcador, pero C.J. Miles erró un tiro de tres puntos en el segundo final.

"La racha no estaba en mi mente, sino que estábamos siendo reventados", comentó James. "Yo iba a ser el único en recibir una 'L' (loser, o perdedor) en la gira de reunión", agregó.

Mario Chalmers agregó 17 puntos y Wade 11 por el Heat, que superó en puntos a Cleveland 30-18 en el último cuarto y 64-40 en toda la segunda mitad.

Wayne Ellington contribuyó con 20 puntos y Tristan Thompson 18 por los Cavaliers, que pasaron de una sorpresiva victoria al peor desaprovechamiento de una ventaja en una derrota en la historia de la franquicia.

"Sabíamos que vendría", dijo Thompson sobre la recuperación del Heat. "Ellos fueron los campeones de la NBA la temporada pasada. No van a tumbarse. Los campeones no se rinden, aun cuando están abajo por 27. Sabíamos que iban a realizar un esfuerzo. Los chicos salieron y realizaron jugadas, así que hay que darles reconocimiento", añadió.

En otros resultados de la jornada: Charlotte venció por 107-101 a , Toronto; Nueva York por 106-94 a Orlando; Atlanta por 98-90 a Milwaukee; Brooklyn por 113-96 a Dallas; y Houston por 100-93 a Utah.

Memphis derrotó a Oklahoma City por 90-89 en tiempo extra; Nueva Orleáns a Boston por 87-86; San Antonio a Golden State por 104-93; Washington a Phoenix por 88-79; y los Clippers de Los Angeles a Filadelfia por 101-72.

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