Make room, Rockets. You've got company.
The Miami Heat matched the 2007-08 Rockets' 22-game winning streak on Sunday with a win over the Raptors to tie the second-longest winning streak in NBA history. Hey, only 11 more to go to tie the Lakers!
(This is your daily reminder of how ridiculous a 33-game winning-streak is, regardless of era or circumstances.)
So with that lofty mark a long way away, especially with a daunting schedule that includes a back-to-back on the road in Boston and a game vs. the West-leading Spurs, we should examine the Heat's winning streak in its own context and compare it to that Rockets streak.
You have to start with the differential in context of where the two teams are. The Rockets battled massive injuries that season. Yao Ming missed the final 10 games of the streak, and the Rockets struggled with him and Tracy McGrady slipping in and out of the roster. But they came together behind a strong identity of defense and unselfish play.
It was not a superstar-led team, though McGrady was a huge part of the streak. So there's a pretty big difference in what the Heat are doing. That said, there are similarities when you consider the way the Heat have had contributions from multiple players and that their defensive focus is what has sparked them. Surely the basektball aritstry of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade has led them, but Shane Battier and Ray Allen have hit threes, Chris Bosh has rediscovered his mid-range and Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers have handled the offense.
The Rockets actually outscored their opponents by more than Miami has during its streak. Houston outscored teams in that 22-game stretch by 270 points; Miami has outscored its opponents by 257 points. This doesn't mean the Rockets were more impressive in their streak. It's just to put into context how much the Rockets were feeling it. Any win streak like this will have times when the team seems invincible. The Rockets felt like it for much of February 2008.
Conversely, the Heat haven't been riding emotional highs. They're just taking care of games. The Raptors tied the scorein the fourth quarter, and it appeared the streak was in jeopardy. The Heat responded with a massive run, and that was that. It's much more clockwork, much more execution and confidence and less belief in a greater team power.
Interestingly, during that 22-game win streak for the Rockets? They beat the James' Cavaliers twice, as well as ... the Miami Heat.
But maybe most interestingly, five years ago Monday, the Rockets' 22-game winning streak came to an end on March 18 vs. the Boston Celtics.
Miami will travel to try for win No. 23 on Monday, March 18, 2013 ... against the Boston Celtics.