With Miami's winning streak at 26 games, there's no doubt that the Heat are enjoying their success.
By CHRIS TOMASSONFS Florida
MIAMI -- If LeBron James is getting tired of doing interviews during his team's winning streak, he isn't showing it.
Of course, it helps when the guy asking the questions is
Miami Heat sidekick Dwyane Wade.
If you want know how loose the Heat are these days, check out what unfolded Sunday night following a 109-77 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, Miami's 26th in a row. Handling the television post-game interview of James on the AmericanAirlines court was Wade, dressed in a natty white suit after having sat out the game due to a sore right knee.
Wade started out by saying, "LeBron James, I'm not going to ask about the 26-game winning streak." He then asked two questions while Heat center Chris Bosh was hamming it up in the background. His second one featured Wade asked about a "superstar" being out who, of course, was him.
"When you have a superstar like WOW out, everyone has to pick it up," James said on the Sun Sports broadcast, referring to Wade's self-proclaimed nickname that stands for Way of Wade. Then James poured it on heavy, calling Wade a "superstar, a big-time superstar, Hall of Fame guy."
Wade then turned the microphone back to regular sideline guy Jason Jackson after everybody had a good time.
And why not? The Heat have the second-longest winning streak in NBA history, behind only the Los Angeles Lakers' magical 33-game run of 1971-72. On Sunday, they moved into a tie for second place for the longest streak in U.S. pro sports history, joining baseball's 1916 New York Giants.
"Winning is fun, first of all," James said of how loose the Heat are these days. "We try to have fun no matter what's going on and we're a collective group that enjoys each other both on and off the court."
James sure had fun, totaling 32 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. He likely would have gotten a triple-double had he not been given the rest of the night off after the Heat (55-14) took an 87-61 lead with 7:58 remaining over woeful Charlotte (16-54).
How bad are the Bobcats? Well, they've now won three games less during the past two seasons combined (23) than Miami has during its streak.
Of course, the Heat don't discriminate when it comes to falling behind teams. They allowed Charlotte to take a 19-8 first-quarter lead, marking the seventh time during the streak and the fourth straight game Miami has trailed by 11 or more points.
But nobody ever was worried. The Heat outscored the Bobcats 101-58 the rest of the night while giving everybody a show.
There was a more impressive guest list than usual for a Heat affair. On hand were tennis player Novak Djokovic and golfer Rory McIlroy, both top-ranked in the world, and heavyweight boxing champ Wladimir Klitschko.
The world's No. 1 basketball player didn't want to let them down.
"It's very humbling that you can have some of the other greats come to see your team play, come to see you play and you try to leave an impression on them as a team and as an individual," said James, who also Sunday had three steals and three blocks and shot 11 of 14 from the field. "So it's great to have them in the building for sure."
Figure on plenty more celebrities turning out if the Heat can continue to challenge the Lakers' record. Next up is a Monday date at Orlando.
"It's on everybody else's radar right now, just with where we are, being in second place right now for the most consecutive wins," James said. "But for us we just want to continue to play our game."
Miami played it Sunday without Wade, who could return against the Magic. Wade had banged his knee earlier in the month and aggravated it last Monday at Boston, and coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat wanted to be "proactive" about the injury.
Sitting Wade out against the bad Bobcats wasn't much of a risk. Besides, the Heat are now 18-4 the past two seasons when he doesn't play
With Wade out, the Heat got 15 and 14 points, respectively, from reserve guards Norris Cole and Ray Allen. Bosh, who had fans sing "Happy Birthday'' to him on his 29th, scored 15 after he had averaged just 9.7 in the previous three games.
Sparingly used Mike Miller got the start at shooting guard for Wade, and scored six points. If that doesn't sound like much, consider it was the first points he's scored since Jan. 25 and his top outing since Jan. 12.
"We had a lot of guys step up, guys that haven't been getting regular minutes," Spoelstra said.
The Heat have done it in all sorts of ways since they began their streak Feb. 3 at Toronto. It's one has put them down in history.
Miami tied the 1916 Giants for the second-longest streak in U.S. pro sports history. Those Giants have been discredited by some since they did have a tie during the streak, although it didn't count in the standings.
"I didn't know," Bosh said of the Heat tying a team from 97 years ago. "I'm going to hit (people) up with trivia now. It's cool."
So is Miami's winning streak. The Heat, who last month rolled out their "Harlem Shake" video, are seemingly finding new ways to have fun with each game.
"We're having a blast," Bosh said when asked about Wade interviewing James after the game and Bosh clowning in the background. "This is the best team I've ever been on. Everybody likes each other. We always have fun. We work hard but we play hard, too."
It might be the best team Bosh has been on. If the Heat keep winning, some might call it the best team period.