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Heat streak continues against Hawks

MIAMI -- The Miami Heat kept their franchise-record winning streak going Tuesday night, defeating the Atlanta Hawks 98-81 at AmericanAirlines Arena for their 19th consecutive victory.

The Heat's streak, the longest in the NBA this season, matches a run by the 2008-09 Boston Celtics for the longest by a defending champion. It is also tied for the fifth-longest ever with those Celtics and the 1999-2000 Los Angeles Lakers.

The Heat got a balanced offensive effort, with five players scoring in double figures.

Dwyane Wade led the Heat (48-14) with 23 points, six assists and five steals. LeBron James fell short of a double-double that would have given him 31 for the season, matching a single-season career high, but he still finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Udonis Haslem had only six points, but finished with 11 rebounds, including 10 in the first half. Chris Bosh had 14 points, and guard Mario Chalmers remained red-hot shooting with 14 points, thanks largely to a 4-of-7 performance from 3-point range.

Atlanta committed a season-high 24 turnovers.

Miami beat Atlanta for the seventh consecutive time and secured its fifth regular-season sweep of the Hawks all-time, winning all four games this season. It's the Heat's first sweep of the Hawks since the 2006-07 season.

The reeling Hawks (34-29) dropped their third game in a row and sixth in their past seven.

The Heat increased its cushion for the top spot in the Eastern Conference to 9 games over the idle New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.

The Hawks remain tied with the Celtics for the sixth seed in the East.

Josh Smith led Atlanta with 15 points, and Al Horford and Jeff Teague each finished with 12 points. Smith and Horford had six rebounds apiece.

Atlanta, still playing without injured center Zaza Pachulia, tinkered with its lineup, putting forward Anthony Tolliver in the starting lineup and hoping forward DeShawn Stevenson and Smith could slow down James and Wade.

The Heat outrebounded the Hawks 45-43, but Miami had a 24-14 edge in the first half.

The Heat also found its way to the foul line drastically more than the Hawks in the first half to take a 13-point lead at the break. Miami made 17 of 20 first-half free throws, while the Hawks had only one opportunity, with reserve Ivan Johnson going 2-for-2.

Miami finished 22-for-30 at the foul line, while Atlanta went 10-for-14.

NOTES: Pachulia missed his fifth consecutive game with a sore right Achilles. Coach Larry Drew said there was still no official word when Pachulia would be back. ... Stevenson started Tuesday despite being limited Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets with a dislocated left middle finger. Drew was asked if the team considered holding Stevenson out until the Wednesday game against the Los Angeles Lakers, to which Drew responded: "It is just kind of a roll of the dice. We could use him both nights. Both positions that need to be defended, he can defend both, so why not tonight?" ... The Heat signed veteran forward Juwan Howard to a second 10-day contract. ... The Heat honored former forward P.J. Brown as part of its "25 years of Heat" ceremonies. Brown played four seasons with Miami from 1996-2000 and earned NBA All-Defensive second team honors during the 1996-97 and 1998-99 seasons. Miami made the playoffs all four seasons and reached the Eastern Conference finals in 1997. As part of the ceremonies this season, the Heat has also honored Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Glen Rice, Steve Smith, Brian Grant, Eddie Jones and Sherman Douglas. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said pregame: "It is awesome that these guys are able to come back and that we are able to honor them. (Brown) was the absolute, consummate professional."