Can’t you picture the Hornets, Spurs, Knicks, Bobcats and Sixers salivating already?
It’s time to jump on the Heat while they’re down, exhausted, spent after a 27-game winning streak that lasted nearly two full months.
Despite what the Miami players have been saying, that kind of long period of excellence takes a toll, mentally and physically.
After the 1969-70 Knicks of Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Dave DeBusschere and Bill Bradley had what was then an NBA record 18-game win streak snapped by Detroit, they bounced back to take three straight, but then lost four out of five to add up to a 4-5 stretch over a period of 17 days.
- Nov. 29 vs. Pistons, lost 110-98.
- Dec. 2 vs. Sonics, won 129-109.
- Dec. 5 at Baltimore, won 116-107.
- Dec. 6,vs. Bucks, won 124-99.
- Dec. 9 at Cincinnati, lost 103-101.
- Dec. 10 at Milwaukee, lost 96-95.
- Dec. 11 at Seattle, lost 112-105.
- Dec. 13 vs. Sixers, lost 100-93.
- Dec. 16 at Atlanta, lost 125-124.
The very next year when the Bucks of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson set a new record with 20 consecutive wins, their streak ended with a double-overtime loss at Chicago and they lost three straight and five of the last six games to close out the regular season.
- Mar. 9 at Chicago, lost 110-103 (2 OT).
- Mar. 13 at New York, lost 108-103.
- Mar. 14 vs. Suns, lost 125-113.
- Mar. 16 at Phoenix, won 119-111.
- Mar. 18 at Seattle, lost 122-121.
- Mar.19 at San Diego, lost 111-99.
The legendary 1971-72 Lakers of Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Gail Goodrich came along the very next season to hang the record so far out there at 33 in a row that it still eluded the Heat 41 years later. But even that Hall of Fame trio couldn’t avoid a letdown. After the streak was ended by Kareem and the Bucks, the Lakers lost three of their next five.
- Jan. 9 at Milwaukee, lost 120-104.
- Jan. 11 at Detroit, won 123-103.
- Jan. 12 at Cincinnati, lost 108-107.
- Jan. 14 at Philadelphia, won 135-121.
- Jan. 21 vs. Knicks, lost 104-101.
- Jan. 22 at Phoenix, lost 116-102.
It took another 36 years until the 2007-08 Rockets tried to make a run at the record. But their fate was no different. After their 22-game win streak was smashed by Boston, Tracy McGrady and the Rockets were hammered the next night by the Hornets as they went on to lose four of their next seven.
- Mar. 18 vs. Celtics, lost 94-74.
- Mar. 19 at New Orleans, lost 90-69.
- Mar. 21 at Golden State, won 109-106.
- Mar. 22 at Phoenix, lost 122-113.
- Mar. 24 vs. Kings, won 108-100.
- Mar. 26 vs. Timberwolves, won 97-86.
- Mar. 30 at San Antonio, lost 109-88.
- Apr. 1 at Sacramento, lost 99-98.
Of course, the good news for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the gang is that all of those teams except the Rockets gathered themselves in time for the playoffs and went on to win the NBA championship and the Heat will still be the heavy favorites to do that in June.
But for now, history says it’s time to watch for a case of the Post-Streak Blues.
And for every team coming up on the schedule to pounce.