Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Unlike Will Ferrell’s character in the movie “Old School,” the Heat are no longer going streaking. The team posted its first loss since February 1 Wednesday night after reeling off 27 straight victories. The loss to the Chicago Bulls isn’t surprising, neither is the Heat’s reaction to the loss.
According to probasketballtalk.com, the Heat are a combined 59-0 against one-third of the teams they played during the 27-game winning streak since the Big Three came together in Miami. Another six wins in the streak came against teams the Heat are 33-5 against.
In other words, as probasketballtalk.com pointed out, during the streak, Miami won 15 games against teams they are 92-5 against since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined the Heat prior to the 2010-2011 season.
The Bulls on the other hand have been a thorn in the side of the Heat, at least during the regular season. Chicago is 7-3 against the Heat during the Big Three era, but is 1-4 against Miami when it matters most in the playoffs.
And that’s what has been lost on some during the 27-game winning streak, it was a fun run, but in the end it’s all about winning a second-straight NBA Championship.
“We haven’t had a chance to really have a moment to know what we just did,” James said. “We had a moment, just very fortunate, very humbling and blessed to be part of this team and be part of a streak like that.”
James continued, “Ultimately, we want to win the NBA championship.”
“We understand, probably more so later on in our careers, the significance of that. And then that was it,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We took that moment to acknowledge it, to acknowledge each other, that experience, but it was never about the streak. We have a bigger goal, but also right now, it’s about ‘Are we getting better?’”
While the Bulls and their fans celebrated like they had just won Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Miami walked off the court with a loss for the first time in almost two months. It’s an unheard of streak that only one other team in NBA history has been able to top, the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
That puts the Heat’s streak above teams like the Bulls teams that won at least 60 games multiple times and even above teams like Pat Riley’s 1980’s Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. All of those teams though have something the Heat want, multiple NBA Championships.
“It’s a five-second moment of reflection before we move on to the rest of the season,” Wade said. “In here, it didn’t feel like we were on this amazing streak.”
“It was more important to everybody else than it was to us,” Chris Bosh said. “We never cared too much about talking about it. It wasn’t a subject of conversation until (others mentioned it).”
The Heat’s streak is the story of the regular season and if Miami doesn’t hoist another Larry O’Brien trophy as NBA champions in June, it will be considered a failure of a season. Still, it left Miami sitting pretty heading into the final month of the regular season.
Miami was only a half-game ahead of New York in the Eastern Conference when the streak began and was just four games ahead of Atlanta in the Southeast Division.
Twenty-seven victories later, the Heat gained 12 games over New York in the East, put away the Hawks in the Southeast, and have become the best road team in the NBA this year.
More importantly, the Heat have almost clinched the number one seed in the Eastern Conference which would mean Coach Spoelstra will have more flexibility to get LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Ray Allen more rest ahead of the playoffs.
One thing the Heat have been blessed with up until this point in the season is a lack of injuries, which may be the only thing that can stand in the way of the Heat heading into the playoffs.
Wednesday night, Chicago was the better team. But when the smoke clears from this NBA season, Miami hopes the rest of the league is feeling the “White Hot Heat” coming from South Florida.