When, and where, might the streaking Heat fall?
Winners of 20 games in a row, the Miami Heat could be headed
The NBA record is 33 consecutive victories in a single season,
set by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971-72. The Heat became the
fourth team to win at least 20 in a row in a season when they beat
the Philadelphia 76ers 98-94 on Wednesday night, and they would tie
the record if they make it to their next matchup against the 76ers
on April 6 without a loss.
But even LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the defending
NBA champions have to fall at some point soon – don’t they?
Here are some of possible times and places they could
TONIGHT AT MILWAUKEE: Wade was a college star at Marquette and
Ray Allen is the Bucks’ leader in career 3-pointers, yet playing in
Milwaukee doesn’t seem to agree with the Heat. The Bucks beat them
by 19 in December and took a game at home last season, too. Friday
night’s matchup is a potential first-round playoff preview, and the
Heat may want to send a message that it won’t be competitive.
MARCH 18 AT BOSTON: If the streak is intact, the Heat would be
going for the second-longest, single-season streak at 23 games. To
get it, they’d have to win in a place where they’ve dropped 16 of
their last 18 games, including the Celtics’ stirring
double-overtime victory in January on the day they learned Rajon
Rondo was lost for the season. Of course, James could just seize
the game like he did during his epic 45-point, 15-rebound
performance in Game 6 of last year’s Eastern Conference finals.
That one was in Boston.
MARCH 25 AT ORLANDO: The Heat needed a basket by James with 3.2
seconds left to beat the Magic on March 6 at home for win No. 16 in
the streak. With the game now in Orlando and the Heat playing for
the second straight night, can the Magic finish the job and deny
what would be No. 27?
MARCH 31 AT SAN ANTONIO: The Easter Sunday matchup, when the
Heat could be going for 30 in a row, might be the most intriguing
game left on their schedule. The Spurs nearly beat the Heat in
Miami last November. That was even after the Spurs had sent Tim
Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green home early from
a road trip to rest, drawing a $250,000 fine from the NBA. With the
Spurs fighting for the No. 1 seed in the West, they could well
throw everybody they have available at the Heat this time.
APRIL 2 AT MIAMI: The first game back from a road trip is never
easy, and here the Heat come home from four games to face a Knicks
team that’s already beaten them twice and had a 16-point lead in
the third matchup, before the Heat rallied for a six-point victory
that gave them 14 straight wins. The Knicks have broken South Beach
hearts before (see: Houston, Allan) and an upset with the Heat just
three victories shy of matching history might hurt even more.
APRIL 15 AT CLEVELAND: With the Heat playing their final road
game of the season and with home-court advantage already wrapped
up, maybe James rests up and never takes his talents off the bench
while visiting old home. Perhaps Wade sits out, too, and the streak
ends at 37.
JUNE 11 AT TBD: Trailing 2-0 in the title series, the Western
Conference champion beats Miami in Game 3 at home, halting a streak
that began Feb. 3 in Toronto – on Super Bowl Sunday – and lasts all
the way to the NBA Finals, a run of 53 consecutive victories. Fans
everywhere wonder: How will the Heat rebound in Game 4?
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