So the streaking Miami Heat made a viral video of the latest craze, the Harlem Shake. While this Blackhawks squad hasn't done anything wacky — besides win & win & win — Chicago's long-loved hockey team is quietly catching the eye of sports fans across the country. That's right, people are paying attention to hockey, a couple months after they swore they never would again. Is there some sort of Super Bowl Shuffle in the near future? We're not sure, but with the way Chicagoans love their teams, you can bet this little guy or some other Blackhawks fanatics will come up with something.
Who ya got?
The Chicago Blackhawks and Miami Heat are riding some pretty impressive streaks. Despite the lockout and an abbreviated training camp, the Blackhawks have gone 24 consecutive games with at least one point to start the season — an NHL record. Though they haven't won every game (3 shootout losses), the 'Hawks have been the cream of the crop during this truncated, 48-game season. LeBron posted a Twitter message squad saying, "Hey Chicago Blackhawks, u guys are AWESOME!! #streaking". The Heat's 16-game win streak isn't an NBA record or even the longest this season (the Clippers won 17 in a row) but it has set a franchise mark. Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks' leading scorer, tweeted, "Back at you LeBron. Keep rolling." So whose streak has been more impressive? “Theirs is more impressive than ours,” James told The Palm Beach Post. “Yeah, I think so. They’re doing that without a training camp. They had no time to work together, to go out with they are going to do. They just put it on the ice and just figure it out." Is he right? You be the judge ...
Looking for a reason for the Heat's impressive run? It starts and stops with their superstar tandem. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been masterful during this 16-game run, with LeBron hitting the winning shot as time expired in their latest win. LeBron has averaged 26.2 points, including a record streak of scoring at least 30 points on 60-percent shooting in seven consecutive games. Wade has been far from a slouch, averaging 24.5 points and 5.9 assists with an NBA-leading plus-minus ratio of 203. With the way these two have played, Miami has outscored opponents by an average of 11.5 points per game. How can the Blackhawks compete with that?
'Hawks have 1-2 punch
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks' two young stars — Jonathan Toews (19) and Patrick Kane (88) — have been leading the way for the hottest NHL squad. Both just happen to be 24 years old and both have played in all 24 games. Kane leads the Blackhawks with 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points (tied for seventh in the league), while Toews, Chicago's captain, has tallied 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points. These two may not pack as much scoring punch as James and Wade, but if they keep this up, the sky's the limit for this original-six organization.
Defense wins games
The Heat are one of the stingiest defensive teams in the league, and they've been especially stout during this run. Miami has held its opponents to fewer than 100 points 11 times during the 16 games. The Heat really clamped down on their Eastern Conference rival, holding the Bulls to 67 points — a low during the streak — on Feb. 21. The Heat are holding opponents to 94.9 points per game, nearly two points below their season average (96.3) during the streak, and have won 10 of the 16 games by 10 points or more.
Defense? Got it in goal
It's tough enough for opponents to deal with Chicago's offensive speed and agility, but then they have to figure out a way to get the biscuit past goaltenders Corey Crawford (left) and Ray Emery. The 'Hawks have not one but two goaltenders in the top four in goals-against average and save percentage. While neither was anything special last season, they've been tough to beat in 2013. Crawford is 11-0-3 — losing the three shootout contests — with a 1.53 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage, while Emery is 10-0-0 with a 2.02 GAA and a .925 save percentage. So it's no surprise the 'Hawks have won 13 one-goal games during this remarkable stretch. Birdman is a shot-blocking fiend, but no one on Miami defends the goal like these guys.
Veteran presence: Ray Allen
He's made the most 3-pointers in NBA history, and his dead-eye shooting has come in handy this season. Allen, who was wooed from the Celtics in the offseason, has knocked down 38 percent of his attempts from deep during the streak. Though that's below the 42-percent clip he's been hitting this season, his mere presence opens driving lanes for LeBron and Wade.
Veteran presence: Marian Hossa
Hossa, who debuted in the league at the age of 18 with the Ottawa Senators in the 1997-'98 season, played in his 1,000th NHL regular-season game on March 2, a 2-1 shootout victory at Detroit. Hossa, now 34, has 10 goals and eight assists this season. He also leads the team with four game-winners. That's four more than Ray Allen during the Heat's streak. Advantage, 'Hawks.
Who's hotter at home?
Clearly, the Heat dancers are hotter than either team. Miami never has lacked in this department. The Heat dancers have won the NBA Dance team bracket multiple times, keeping the home crowd engaged, especially during the streak. The Heat have won nine games at home during this streak, including a 141-point effort. Miami is 27-3 at home this season.
That's pretty hot
Sure, it's cold in the Windy City. There's nothing like that chilly breeze off Lake Michigan ... and it often carries into the spring. Heck, Chicago had its largest snowfall of the season on March 5. But the Blackhawks are pretty hot at home, with a record of 11-0-1. And they have ice girls who are more than willing to help clear the ice during breaks from the action ... and if you're lucky, maybe they'll stop by and clear your driveway.
How good have the Heat been away from home? They've been even more dominant on the road during the streak, winning six out of seven by 10 or more points. And they're not just playing cream puffs: They swept through a four-game trip that started in OKC and held Chicago to 67 points. They rallied from 16 down at the Garden. They're playing so well on the road, you wonder if they could run the table. Seriously.
Road warriors, too
Ten of Chicago's first 12 games were on the road. The Blackhawks opened the season with a 5-2 win at the defending champion LA Kings and followed with five more victories before finally dropping back-to-back shootout games at Minnesota and at Vancouver — but remember, they still earned a point in those defeats. The 'Hawks are 10-0-2 away from the United Center and 11-0-1 at home, both tops in the league. Still, losses are losses — though LeBron is unclear on what shootout losses mean. “That’s a tie, right?” he told The Palm Beach Post. “So they haven’t lost. According to hockey rules, they have not lost. But I think it’s pretty impressive what they’re doing.” Wade’s view of the streak: “I don’t know a lot about hockey, but I know Barry Melrose thinks it’s awesome, so it must be.”
Who's having more fun?
The Heat haven't been all business during their streak. The players put their spin on the latest dance craze — the Harlem Shake — during this run of success. The video was an instant Internet smash, pulling close to 35 million views on the Heat's official YouTube page. Fans couldn't get enough of seeing Dwyane Wade wearing an oversized bear head, LeBron James decked out in a cape and crown, Mario Chalmers in 'Super Mario' garb and Chris Bosh sporting a bathrobe, cowboy hat and boombox.