The Streak Turns 21, Gives Miami Added Late-Season Focus

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MILWAUKEE – The Big 3: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The Big 3: The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, the 2007-08 Houston Rockets and now the 2012-13 Miami Heat.

There was a whole lot of convergence goin’ on after Miami won for the 21st consecutive time Friday night, a 107-94 victory over the Bucks at Bradley Center, to separate itself from what had been a three-way tie for third place in all-time NBA streakology.

Heat upcoming schedule
Day Date Loc. Opponent Time (ET) TV
Sun. Mar. 17 @ Toronto 1 p.m. League Pass
Mon. Mar. 18 @ Boston 8 p.m. ESPN
Wed. Mar. 20 @ Cleveland 7 p.m. League Pass
Fri. Mar. 22 vs. Detroit 7:30 p.m. League Pass
Sun. Mar. 24 vs. Charlotte 6 p.m. League Pass
Mon. Mar. 25 @ Orlando 7 p.m. League Pass
Wed. Mar. 27 @ Chicago 8 p.m. ESPN
Fri. Mar. 29 @ New Orleans 8 p.m. League Pass
Sun. Mar. 31 @ San Antonio 7 p.m. NBA TV

At 20 in a row, in this wondrous run dating back to early February, the Heat were even with the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks and the old-school, somewhat-asterisked Washington Capitols, who stretched their 20 victories across the end of the 1947-48 season and the start of 1948-49.

Now, though, only that Rockets club of five years ago which won 22 straight stands between the NBA’s defending champs and one of the league’s greatest milestones owned by one of its legendary teams. The Lakers of Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich – and Pat Riley, the Miami president who was a role player on coach Bill Sharman‘s L.A. squad back then – ran off 33 in a row. They started winning on Nov. 5, 1971 and didn’t stop until Jan. 9, 1972.

James, an hour or so before tipoff Friday, said he learned of the Lakers’ streak back in grade school. Third grade, maybe fourth grade — at some point he thumbed through a volume about pro basketball and uploaded a little history.

“Reading NBA books and pictures and stuff,” the Heat star said. “I’d seen it, when I was a kid. Any NBA book to bring up records said that the NBA team with the most consecutive wins was the Los Angeles Lakers.”

It’s a number – 33 – that grew mythical through the years, in ways that even casual NBA fans know. Quick! What’s the all-time record for consecutive MLB victories? Or NHL? The Mt. Rushmore players on that Lakers team, the long-sought championship that validated the streak, the way their record dwarfed the one set by the Bucks just one season earlier — it set a standard that has gone unchallenged.

That is until the Heat win a half dozen more or so, at which point the clamor and the scrutiny and the overkill will increase exponentially … to equal pretty much what Miami has navigated since July 2010.

For now, The Streak is something for the Heat to shadow-box, nothing to embrace yet nothing to deny. In one breath, coach Erik Spoelstra said: “I still haven’t brought it up to the team.” In the next, however, he said: “We’re not oblivious to it.”

No one is, at this point. The Heat handled the Bucks Friday in a contest that was richly rewarding as a stand-alone — revenge for a collapse in Milwaukee in a late December visit, a message game for what might be a No. 1 vs. No. 8 first-round clash in late April.

There was more tension than drama, pegged to Wade getting face-mushed by Larry Sanders‘ hip on a first-quarter drive toward the rim.

The Heat’s All-Star shooting guard went down hard and lay there momentarily. He was escorted to the dressing room, checked out according to the league’s concussion protocol — his injury turned out to be a neck strain, which briefly numbed his hands — then returned to play catch-up, stats-wise, with James and Bosh.

Now it’s back to Toronto, where this thing began on Super Bowl Sunday. Then to Boston Monday for a shot, barring a Raptors’ upset, at moving past the Tracy McGrady/Yao Ming Rockets into the No. 2 streak spot. And then, well, there’s a bunch of games before Miami faces Philadelphia in what hypothetically would be No. 33 on April 6 and then Milwaukee in a possible No. 34 three nights later.

Lot of schedule between now and then, as Spoelstra was quick to remind.

One way to look at The Streak, though, is that it’s something to help with their focus when their position atop the Eastern Conference appears to be rock solid and the challenges between now and the postseason look a little fuzzy. Winning one night at a time won’t necessarily require them to alter their routines — Wade said he never thought about The Streak when he went back to the court — but it might stave off some early-spring doldrums.

“It’s a lot of wins,” Ray Allen said. “It’s a lot of preparation that goes into it. It’s a lot of small things that you do. It’s a lot of luck, ball bouncing in your favor. Sometimes you can say the schedule even works in your favor a little bit. But we’ve had back-to-backs. We have home [and] road games. We’ve had a coupling of everything. We just kind of buckled down and learned to win games, regardless of what’s thrown at us on any given night.”

71 Comments

  1. Wilt #13 says:

    I really think that the Heat should lose and not break the record of 33 cuz of 3 reasons:
    1)Im a wilt Chamberlain EPIC FAN and I really would be alittle angry[But that is not the main reason its a personal reason :) ]
    2)[The Main reason]- They are showing there best basketball in heat history a couple of weeks before the playoffs. Which is not so good because they can loose there hot hand and will not be a good think in the playoffs.
    3)they will get over-joyed of the winning steak and will loose fucuse cuz of the media.
    But I will be happy to see that record broken eventhough Im a Wilt Fan.

  2. sports fan says:

    If the Heat lose focus, are out of sync, or just completely under estimate a bad team for just one night then they could lose a game well before breaking 33. We all know that anything can happen in the nba, especially in the regular season. If they do lose a game before reaching the record then it better be against a good team instead of a crummy one.

  3. Heat super fan says:

    The Miami Heat will not loose another game this season this is coming form the Basketball Gods!!!

  4. waffy says:

    come on dantoni

  5. RG says:

    while this streak is great, i don’t think they’ll beat the Lakers’ 33. the Heat’s streak could probably end in Boston on Monday. if not, it’ll be in Chicago or in San Antonio.

  6. Heat030634 says:

    it’s okay if their winning streaks will break. i just hope their superstars won’t get any serious injuries especially this playoffs. they really need to maintain their good mind and body condition to get another championship ring. that’s their real target and not the historical streaks.

  7. AK says:

    What they’ve done is incredible. When you win 10 games in a row you don’t imagine duplicating that and winning 10 more in a row. But they’ve done it. Thinking of duplicating it and winning another 10 in a row to get to 30 might seem overwhelming. However they can’t think of it like that. They just gotta take it one game at a time and focus on how to win the next games on each given night. And before they know it they’ll find themselves at 30. Then things will get interesting.

  8. Vanessa says:

    Ktaumba,
    I believe Lebron is just a powerhouse! I don’t think it’s that easy for him to be injured, he is just built differently! I am just amazed at this superstar – love him!!!!

    Vanessa

  9. Eh says:

    Anyone who saw the Magic play the Heat would know that this streak is truly illegitimate. Go watch the game yourself, Please do. You’ll will have your facts straight.

    • Crazyfrog says:

      I’ve watched the game myself and theres no way that magic will win, if u are reffering with the offensive foul call, that way a good call indeed.

  10. Eliyahu Pahima says:

    Hi !
    I’m wrighting from Israel , maybe with a lot of mistakes in my english … so sorry about that .
    From my place , the Miami Heat looks like an extraordinary team , thanks to the ‘Big 3′ . We should pay attention to two more valueable players – Mario Chalmers and Chris ‘The Birdman’ Anderson .
    The first helps the team from distance , and the second helps it near the basket .
    I just want to thank the NBA for giving us the ability to watch such a great team .
    Goodbye !

  11. Katumba says:

    No one is talking about Lebron and how he’s managed to stay without injuries. How many times has LJ sat out due to injury. Is it because he plays smart or he’s just so strong he’s able to play through injuries.. I am just comparing him to other superstars and how almost all of them get injured during the season and have to miss a lot of games.
    Rose, Rando, Chris Paul, Wade, Camelo, Kobe, Dwight Howard, Amare, Bynum, Blake, Gasol,Ginobli, Parker . The list goes on and on.
    Lebron is always in action day in day out. Its just unbelievable given the high level and aggressive way he plays.
    He’s just gifted.

  12. Bren says:

    I’m going to the Miami-Raptors game tomorrow! My Raptors will crush Miami! lol jk but it’s exciting to see Miami in the midst of such a historic streak

  13. pepe says:

    Why is Spoelstra starting Haslem instead of Andersen?
    Can anybody answer this for me please?

    • NBAFanatic13 says:

      because Andersen’s role is simply to add height in the team mainly for rebounding and inside def if needed, the main playstyle of the heat is fast phased using their speed + athleticsm to the fullest, outrunning their opponents in fast breaks, lockdown defense cause being fast makes it possible for them to rotate so well in the defensive end that even if they double team mostly someone the opponent would still find it hard to find a teammate that is free because they can rotate so fast,.. so andersen is just needed if the heat is getting outrebound by the opposing team and for substitution….that, and/or maybe simply because haslem is one of miami’s pioneer player :)

  14. Julian says:

    I have been a hardcore Miami Heat fan since 2000 when they were kinda like the worst of the worst…Imagine how I must be feeling right now with this 21 winning streak, Lebron James is the best player in the world but you have to admit that since 2003 when Wade arrived was when this team turned it around. All I have to say is that Lebron couldn’t do it by himself and I’m looking forward to tomorrow to go watch them in the Air Canada Centre!! I live in Canada by the way ;)

  15. Lebron is a special, special player, no doubt.

    The only gripe I have about his game is that sometimes he could be too damn unselfish. Sometimes it is better off if he took certain shots than trying so hard to get everyone involved (not that this is a bad thing…)

  16. zay says:

    Ok Jordan had Pippen. LeBrons got wade who all ready has a championship ray allen who already has ring. .Chris Bosh who was a superstar of his own team rashad lewis who has been a all-star. .its not.like hes building its more like cheating. …theirs nothing heroic about it not to mention he’s 6’8 280lbs……its weak . really

  17. He got game! says:

    Miami will continue to win up to the finals.

  18. theholyspectator says:

    no doubt this win streak is remarkable…and quite historic…and it may be helpin miami win games especially when it comes down to the wire. i mean the guys already clinched, if erick wants he can sit out his stars and rest em up for the playoffs…but this win streak is a motivation more than anything…surely they will lose one of these games, but then again they may not..but a loss would actually do them some good, ive noticed miami comes back much harder and better after a loss..regardless if they go into post season on this streak or not they gonna repeat no question about it…king james and the heat will collect their 2nd back to back title by june

  19. Rhedz says:

    Heat have done a great job so far…if not great then prolly amazing…It’s not who the team is..it’s what they do that defines them…*according to batman…lmao…Winning the finals and becoming the champions (*AGAIN) is what matters…beating some record of streak is just a plus…this team has already made history in basketball and becoming third in streak history is already a HUGE accomplishment but i hope they don’t push their luck beating the best streak is not the goal of this game, i just hope they keep their focus on what they are trying to accomplish…and that is winning another ring and becoming champions again…

    Goodluck Heat..Keep it burning…Bron,Wade,Bosh,Allen,Battier, charlmers,birdman,cole,lewis,anthony and to the rest of the team…Goodluck…

    May the heat be with you guys…!!!

    HEAT NATION !!!

  20. When they face the Spurs the streak will end

  21. Michael B. says:

    i see them getting 27 wins in a row, if Chicago plays an amazing rebounding game as they have done against the Heat, bulls might win for sure, the factor here will be Bosh, Lebron and Anderson, they NEED to go for those defensive rebounds, if they can do this New Orleans will be a piece of cake and go for 29 in a row, the problem on the way will be Spurs and Knicks, this are a most win, here they got to go on Playoff mode if they want to win these ones, the rest are easy games, if they play with intensity, with 35-36 win streak will be a great win streak record, the rest of the games I would take them lightly except for the Bulls game, besides that, Heat are good to go into the Playoffs

  22. NBAKing says:

    Miami has a real good shot going for 33+ games winning streak. if they really want to they can probably win all the remaining season games which will bring the record up to 39. That would be just wow! No one can beat a team when they’re really playing a team game! And with all the talent and leadership the Heat have, I don’t really see any team beating them. Heck I’ll go so far as saying they might go all the way to winning the Championship without losing a single game in the playoffs

  23. alfa says:

    He said that was arrogant if not immature
    Funny how the people criticize that Lebron said this or That, or dancing well or not …..
    Appreciate what he does and what he sacrifices for his team ((and that is the most complete player that has existed)) If only appreciate the game and how good this team is engaged and whose balance despite having giant stars do not see one of them try “30 shots”
    Or try to overshadow the other, how hard it is to join such egos and be friends.

    Whether you like it or not this team, you can not deny its domain and over the 21 games facing teams like: HOU, LAC, LA, OKC, ATL, CHI, MEM, NYK, IND and ATL again and (((POR, TOR, PHI and despite having no record of winning are very good teams))) if impressive, indeed they could not win of course, will not have the same importance
      I think they can win over 22 but do not think they reach 33, when LA was achieved earlier in the season and not at the end ((for them has been a long season, champions, Olympics ….))
    not think it is necessary that they have to lose to rest because if they win or lose they have to play anyways
    Some might not always agree, but it is indisputable that this team will have its place in history

    • alfa says:

      agree to everything he said ((ALFA))
      LEBRON plays for his team
      You have the impression that if he wants something he does on the court
      the day the proposed 60 point make the will (for now parrece not his goal)
      Dwayne is happy for this much better than his leg last year, Bosh has not been easy to be overshadowed by the star trio (of course not at the same level of Dw and lebron)

  24. LarryNo says:

    Don Shula was asked about the Dolphins perfect season before the playoffs in 1972 and he said “It don’t mean a thing unless you win the last one.” I hope this Miami team remembers that old Miami team and wins the last game this NBA season. That is why no one mentions the Spurs last season, or cares much about the Rockets run.

  25. just saying says:

    omg the miami can go 39 straight wins looking at their schedule. maybe 29 but what if…

  26. the worm says:

    they sure do play like a team. i loved the jordan era bulls and was surprized that they were not higher on the streak list, but they played like a supporting cast for one guy. the heat really play like a team. good for them.

  27. Heat #1 Fan says:

    They wont lose a game until next season

  28. Rob says:

    Miami will end this win streak against Boston! Has been a nice run though.

  29. koiikoii13 says:

    I would say if they beat boston who broke the 22-game streak by the Rockets. It would come up to 34 winning game streak + playoff wins! I agree on some comments regarding Lebron being mature in everything. New acquisitions really helped them a lot. Sharing the ball and not relying in one player to do the work is a great game plan + winning games day by day. Goodluck MIAMI HEAT! I’m a solid fan from PHILIPPINES! :)

    • jctp says:

      oo pare, tama nagmature na nga si LEBRON, si dwyane wade umaangat na ulit ang laro, FAN HERE from Quezon City, Metro Manila Philippines

  30. Lifeisgreat says:

    I seriously hope the Heat don’t break the Rockets win streak record man! Cmon Toronto and Boston! (BTW I’m from Houston)

    • Bruno says:

      It’s kinda weird that Houston ever got that streak with having a not so impressive overall record otherwise and not doing much in the playoffs consequently.

  31. Nosaj23 says:

    The Miami Heat is on a roll, Win # 21 and counting! Lets go Heat!!!!

  32. REGINALD ROBINSON says:

    RECORD ARE ALWAY MADE TO BE BROKEN IF YOUR TEAM IS HOT THE RECORD WILL BE BROKEN

  33. Edub says:

    Lebron can be so phony sometimes. I respect his game but he never seems to be confident in what he says.

    I don’t want to get off topic so about this streak, early on when they were on it, he says it wasn’t on his mind and that he didn’t care about those before him and them streaking. Now, he’s saying that we want to do something to show that this team is special. if you want to do great, just say it from the start without trying to come off as arrogant.

  34. W/E says:

    FEAR THE HEAT, they are DESTROYING EVERYONE,WIN AFTER WIN on ur WEAK HOPELESS teams and cruise to the NBA finals…

  35. Toro says:

    It takes really huge team effort from the opponent to beat the champs playing like that. We must wait for a bad day of the bench, either for two of the big 3 to see any contest now. The streak is turning from a burden into talisman of the team, it’s the greatest time now.

  36. daniel.b says:

    ONE question, are the heat peaking to soon?

    • Bruno says:

      Yeah I’m wondering that too. They should definitely lose a couple of times before the playoffs or they might burn out like the spurs did last season with their 20 win streak into the playoffs.

  37. googergieger says:

    Denver has also had a nice streak in a conference that isn’t essentially just one team. Also without the refs helping them win games during said streak(how many free throws did Miami get in that Magic game again?).

    • Mane says:

      Damn this comment is dripping with bitterness.

    • bigwes95 says:

      @ googergieger. miami is only 21 out 30 in free throws attempted. OKC is number one and miami is babied by the refs? the nuggets have won 11 straight, about half of what the heat have won so far, and the nuggets have played a lot of team from the east and non play-off team (etc portland, phoenix, injured knicks, scaramento, minnisota)

  38. ben says:

    lebron james is the best. but without his teammate he’ll be in trouble :)

    • bigwes95 says:

      sort of like everyone else? like micheal jordan never made the play-offs with a winning record before scottie pippen? if he didn’t get a winning record nowadays he wouldn’t have made the play-offs once until scottie pippen came.

    • Jhun says:

      ??? He is the reason why his team is doing better, he made them better! Everyone on his team looks like a superstar now only because of him… Miami Heat is the best team. but without Lebron James Heat will be in trouble….

    • Marwin says:

      D Wade or C Bosh? I think they’d be fine for a couple of games without wade, as long as they have solid play from Allen and Cole they’ll be fine. Bosh on the other hand will be needed against Indiana, if they meet the pacers in the finals. Either that or let the BIRDMAN get some more minutes :O

  39. Skolimowski says:

    There’s no way to deny it: after years of infantile behavior and unwarranted adulation, LeBron has reached maturity and forged his own identity. After years of criticizing him, like so many other NBA fans, I finally have to admit he has proved me wrong – and to see him play like an all-time great is all I ever wanted. LeBron’s dominance and love for the game are a joy to watch and no one deserves to be the MVP and a champion more than him. To me, he has turned into not the best scorer some claim him to be nor the best athlete, whatever that means, but certainly the most versatile player in basketball today and probably ever. When all is said and done, that’ll be his epithet.

    • Yeah says:

      You are absolutely right. This is a square excellent statement. Even the most prolific writers couldn’t have said it better. Kudos!!!

    • LakersWillWin says:

      It’s scary… Boston and San Antonio are the only teams with the talent to really challenge the Heat.

  40. Devildog says:

    Time for another{RING). REPEAT

  41. berry says:

    “Sometimes you can say the schedule even works in your favor a little bit”. i wonder how many players from other teams could actually say that

  42. miniminer says:

    no end in sight

  43. Kevin says:

    I am a long-time heat fan, and this streak is awesome – but why do I keep seeing articles that don’t acknowledge that the Spurs won 20 in a row last season – with 10 of the games being in the playoffs… that’s 20 wins in a season.. why don’t playoff wins count?

    • Marwin says:

      While I agree with you that when it comes to the spurs, what they accomplish always appears to be a shadow to what other teams with bigger markets do. But I do remember last year they did acknowledge the fact that their streak rubbed off into the playoffs. I remember they were comparing them to the kobe/shaq lakers that also had their streak that ran into the playoffs before losing the 1st game in the finals. Sadly their streak ended with getting knocked out of the west finals.

    • patpatpat says:

      I think playoff wins doesn’t count. Only regular season and can also be a continuation of the win streak from last season.

    • E.C. says:

      It is acknowledged its just not in the record for longest SEASON wins its under longest wins season and playoffs. They hold the number one spot.

  44. Kobeblackhole says:

    This is how a TEAM should play just like how the spurs play how boston plays, unlike the Lakers which is a one man dominating team. one player shoots the ball 33 times while the rest doesnt even take more than 9 shots. being a scoring machine that shoots 11 out of 33 doesnt make you a great player.