HANG TIME WEST – He had teams ride long winning streak before, all the way into the mid-teens.
“But those teams were very good teams,” Rick Adelman said. “You kind of expected to get win streaks from some of those teams I had.”
True. He coached the late 1980s/early ’90s Trail Blazers with a roster good enough to reach The Finals, have All-Stars and eventually send players to the Hall of Fame. He coached the 2002 Kings team that got to Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.
These were the 2007-08 Rockets that won 22 games in a row, though, and by an average of 12.3 points per. With Yao Ming getting hurt and few realistic hopes for a playoff run without their star center. And yet, Houston rolled up what at the time with the second-best streak in NBA history, behind only the 33 of the 1971-72 Lakers and since surpassed by the 2012-13 Heat at 27.
“I know even though they have the talent and everything else, it’s still hard,” Adelman, now the coach of the Timberwolves, said of the current Miami run. “You’re still going to run into games where you need to get a break here or there to win. I know what they’re doing. They’ve been going through it with no injuries or anything else and they’re playing at a high level anyway. They’re probably the best team in the league. But we weren’t in that case. That’s what I look back and really remember. We played like it. After we got into that streak, we were playing like we expected to be there every night, and that’s what a lot of fun. You go out on the court, you walk out there and you expect, ‘We have a great chance to win this game.’
“We were kind of trying to get it together. And all of the sudden we started winning. Probably the biggest thing, I think we lost Yao for the last 11 games of the streak. We just got on a roll. The thing I remember is we were not only winning, we were winning big. I think we beat Sacramento on a last-second shot in one game that kept the streak. We had Tracy (McGrady) and Yao for part of it, but other than that, I think Shane (Battier), who’s on this team’s streak right now, said it best: We had a lot of journeyman players who played their tails off. With Yao getting hurt and the season over for him, it was kind of our championship. That winning streak, in the regular season, you just don’t do that very often. It was a lot of fun.”
It’s not such a bad thing for Adelman in 2012-13 either, as Minnesota limps to the end of a season ravaged by injury.
“We’ve been struggling to get one (win in a row) right now,” he said. “But it’s been a nice diversion over the last couple weeks for us, to talk about that (Heat streak) rather than what we’re going through.”