When we initially spoke about the Miami Heat’s ongoing winning streak, the idea that luck and timing could play as big a factor as opponent and talent was tossed out. The NBA works as an entertainment device, bent on sending teams around North America for 82 games in a five and a half-month turn, and as a result the best team doesn’t always win every night.
The Miami Heat, defending champions, are the NBA’s best team. This is why the Heat have won 27 games in a row. The NBA record for consecutive wins is 33, set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, and if Miami keeps winning the Heat have a chance to break that record on April 9 when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks. The same Milwaukee franchise, you may have read, that stopped the Lakers’ streak some 41 years ago.
Can the Heat pull it off? Is it worth reeling those wins off, when attempting to defend a championship sometime in mid-June? And which David, on the Heat’s schedule, has the stones to pull off the eventual upset? Click the jump for the breakdown.
The Next Opponent
Various websites, TV talkers and NBA followers have looked at the Heat’s Wednesday evening matchup with the Chicago Bulls as a smart choice to work as the potential end to the team’s ongoing winning streak. The Heat downed the Bulls in the 2011 Eastern conference finals, but each of Miami’s wins were close conquests, Chicago destroyed the Heat in the first game of that series, and the Bulls have racked up a 6-3 regular season record against Miami since LeBron James took his talents to, um, Florida. And a couple of those wins have come without Derrick Rose in the lineup.
(A lineup Derrick Rose will not be in on Wednesday night, because I was born to depress people.)
Overall, that’s a 7-7 run with several close contests that could have gone either way for either side. One of the better, more underrated rivalries in the NBA, made all the more depressing because of a lack of a 2012 playoff showdown due to Rose’s ACL tear, Derrick’s continued absence, and the soul-crushing 2012 offseason restructuring of the Chicago rotation. Meanwhile, Joakim Noah is limping around on a foot he shouldn’t be playing on, the overused Luol Deng is shooting 40 percent in 24 combined games from February and March, and ESPN used images of Nate Robinson to advertise for this matchup on the air the other day.
Things are uneasy in Chicago. The team and its fans went into 2012-13 knowing that this would be a lost year, but that doesn’t make the work it takes to get through a lost year any easier. Especially while Noah and Deng are giving up their literal bodies just to make it to summer. A summer that will probably see the franchise waive forward Carlos Boozer for purely financial reasons, dismissing a player that is averaging around 16 points and nine rebounds this season.