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February 26, 2013

Heat in the driver’s seat

MIAMI — LeBron James might be a few weeks ahead of the actual calendar, but he offered one reason why the Miami Heat tend to enjoy February surges.

“Springtime, in our league, is the best time,” James said.

At least, that’s seems to be case for James and the Heat.

With one game left on their schedule before March arrives, the Heat are an NBA-best 11-1 during the second month of 2013. And that extends a trend that started when James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh became teammates nearly three years ago — they were 9-3 in February 2011, 11-2 in February 2012 and are 11-1 this month going into a home game Tuesday with Sacramento.

After the month started with a 102-89 loss at Indiana, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said “We have to get better” in his postgame interviews that night. His team has ripped off 11 straight wins since.

“You’ve got to play your best basketball at this time of year, February and March and obviously in April going into the stretch,” Wade said. “We would love to play amazing all year, but in the beginning of the season you’ve got to figure things out. It’s a new year, there’s other teams that have new parts, they got better. And then when it comes down to winning team, a veteran team, you have to have everything figured out.”

Combined over their past three Februarys, the Heat are 31-6, the NBA’s best record in that span.

With a win Tuesday, Miami would become the first NBA team since 2008 to post at least 12 victories in February. Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers both won 13 times in February 2008, the Rockets doing so in unbeaten fashion.

“It’s extremely tough keeping up the level of play. But that’s something we have to overcome,” Bosh said. “We said that this year is totally different from last year. It’s a lot more difficult to keep it up. We just have to keep on pushing. I think the fact that we’re on each other and our urgency is so high, that’s really helping us. ... It’s been a process. We still have a lot more to go. As long as we continue to grow, we’ll be right where we want to be.”

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