Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Will the Heat win out? If not, who’ll trip ‘em up?
Steve Aschburner: If Chicago beats ‘em, bully for the Bulls. If New Orleans snaps the streak, hooray for the Hornets. But San Antonio on Sunday is the most imposing team standing between Miami and the ’71-72 Lakers’ record. So what will the Spurs and coach Gregg Popovich do? Keep their powder dry for the road game Monday against Western Conference rival Memphis – and, while they’re at it, stick it to the NBA a little for the first Miami game (and $250,000 fine) by legitimately resting a few key players? Or take this one as a challenge, as a defense of their court and a refusal to join the other streak victims? A li’l extra rest might help San Antonio on Monday and down the road. But losing Sunday will become part of the permanent record if this streak goes the distance and, because of who the Spurs are, one of the victories that will be remembered. Hopefully Pop and his guys stomp on the gas and give the Heat their best effort.
Fran Blinebury: Tim Duncan with the lead pipe in the conservatory.
|Heat upcoming schedule|
Jeff Caplan: Assuming the Heat finish off this week — at Chicago (Wednesday), at New Orleans (Friday), at San Antonio (Sunday) — unscathed and riding a 30-game win streak, they will lose on April 10 at Washington. Why then? Easy: Miami will have broken the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ record streak of 33 consecutive wins with its 34th one night earlier on April 9 at home against Milwaukee. The sheer emotional and physical exhaustion of the streak that dates to Feb. 3 will finally spill out on the home floor of the Wizards (who are playing quite well anyway, thank you) and they’ll have the honor of mopping up the blood, sweat and tears of the longest win streak in NBA history.
Scott Howard-Cooper: They will not win out the season. That would be asking too much. That would be asking them to be much more than record-setters. Running the table would be more like super human. Who trips them up? San Antonio on Sunday.
John Schuhmann: No. And it could be anybody that knocks them off, really. I know that they have their foot on the pedal for the most part, but they’ve had plenty of imperfect nights during the streak, and every opponent left on the schedule (except the Bobcats) is an NBA team capable of playing well enough to beat the Heat when they’re not playing their best. If they do make it to 34 straight, I think they definitely take their foot off the pedal for those final five games and make sure they’re somewhat fresh for the first round, where they might just run into the Celtics. So I seriously doubt they run the table.
Sekou Smith: No. As well as they’ve played the past two months — winning 27 straight games is remarkable by any standard — I just can’t see them making it all the way to April 17 unscathed. I’m sure Heat fans would love for their beloved team to take a 39-game win streak into the playoffs. But there’s no way … is there? Ultimately, I think the streak ends this week. The San Antonio Spurs are going to be tough to beat at their place on Sunday. There’s no shame in having the second best regular season win streak in NBA history. No shame at all.