MILWAUKEE — The Miami Heat had just watched the Super Bowl when Shane Battier delivered a speech that left quite the impression.
Whatever he said that night in Toronto, the Heat sure took off from there.
They haven’t come down yet.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh each scored 28 points, and the Heat made it 21 straight wins, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 107-94 on Friday night.
Only three other teams have won 20 in a row in one season, and the Heat now trail just the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33) and the 2007-08 Houston Rockets (22) after moving ahead of the 1970-71 Bucks.
The Heat haven’t lost since they fell at Indiana on Feb. 1, and they return Sunday to the place where this streak started two days later, back when they were a mediocre road team barely on top of the Eastern Conference standings.
“I think the biggest thing for our team was watching the Super Bowl and getting away from basketball in a sense and just enjoying each other," Dwyane Wade said. “We got the famous speech from Shane Battier and we’ve been rolling ever since."
What did Battier say?
“You had to be there," Bosh said. “It was after watching the Super Bowl. It was a good game, we had a great time. I guess the main focus was that you’re going to miss me when I’m gone."
“It was not so much about him," he continued. “He tied in everything. He tied in life to the Super Bowl. It was just everything. It was a good time."
It’s been nothing but good times for the Heat ever since, although there was a scary moment for them in this game. That was when Wade walked to the locker room with what the team said was a neck strain after crashing to the court in the early going. The Heat overcame that and led by as much as 17 in the third quarter, then withstood a push by the Bucks to keep the streak going.
Bosh hit from all angles and was 12 of 16 in the game, nailing two 3-pointers. He even converted a four-point play that made it 67-53 about five minutes into the third quarter.
James was his usual dominant self, and Wade finished with 20 points as the Heat avenged a loss at Milwaukee in late December. There’s a chance these two teams could meet in the first round of the playoffs, and Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings basically said bring it on.
“I still don’t take anything back about playing Miami in the first round," he said afterward “I still think we match up well against them. We just had an off night tonight."
Also on Friday:
Lakers 99, Pacers 93: INDIANAPOLIS — Kobe Bryant lasted just one quarter on a severely sprained left ankle, then watched Dwight Howard complete a go-ahead, three-point play with 90 seconds left to help Los Angeles hold off Indiana.
Thunder 117, Magic 104: OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 26 points and Russell Westbrook added 23 to help Oklahoma City keep up its dominant play at home with a victory over Orlando.
Rockets 108, Timberwolves 100: HOUSTON — James Harden scored 37 points, Jeremy Lin had 24 and Houston rallied from 20 points down in the third quarter to beat Minnesota.
Hawks 107, Suns 94: ATLANTA — Josh Smith made a strong return to Atlanta’s lineup with 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, and the Hawks led by double figures throughout the final period of a victory over Phoenix.
Mavericks 96, Cavaliers 86: DALLAS — Rodrigue Beaubois scored 18 points off the bench and keyed a fourth-quarter run to lead Dallas past Cleveland.
Wizards 96, Hornets 87: WASHINGTON — John Wall put on a rare shooting show, scoring a season-high 29 points as Washington ran its home winning streak to four.
Raptors 92, Bobcats 78: TORONTO — Rudy Gay scored 28 points, Amir Johnson had 12 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, and Toronto beat Charlotte.
Bulls 113, Warriors 95: OAKLAND, Calif. — Luol Deng scored 23 points, Carlos Boozer had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Chicago bounced back from its most lopsided loss of the season to whip Golden State.
Nuggets 87, Grizzlies 80: DENVER — Kosta Koufos scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, helping Denver rally to beat Memphis for its 11th straight win, the Nuggets’ longest streak in 30 years.