The Miami Heat have won 27 consecutive games. That's one-third of a full NBA season.
I'm trying to let that sink in and I'm having a problem with it. I keep expecting the streak to end. How can you not expect it to end? This kind of thing has happened once in NBA history prior to this season and that was four years before the NBA/ABA merger.
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It's not about the individual games, although it's easy for us to get caught up in that. Of course the Miami Heat beat the Orlando Magic tonight. Even without Dwyane Wade playing, a bad Orlando team was still without Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo, and Glen Davis -- arguably their three best players. However, as we continue to marvel at how the streak has been extended, it's important to remember it's the collective that is blowing our minds.
With LeBron James leading the way, the Heat seem infallible even as they're making mistakes. Wait for LeBron to take over and the opponent will break. Wait for the best player in the world to realize he can disconnect himself from the matrix and watch him stop the opposition in spectacular fashion.
In Miami's 108-94 victory in Orlando Monday night, the game was really close for quite some time. Jameer Nelson hit a 3-pointer with 2:59 left in the third quarter to tie the game at 68-68. Over the next 11:55, Miami outscored the Magic 37-17, fueled by LeBron's run of 16 points (5-of-6 from the field, 6-of-9 from the free-throw line), five assists (14 points on them), and three rebounds.
That's right; LeBron almost matched the Magic's point total over that stretch with his own scoring and he almost matched the Magic's point total over that stretch with his passing.
When most teams go on a long winning streak, it's not necessarily the opponent that figures them out. Sometimes it's just the schedule wearing them down either physically or mentally. Fatigue sets in and mental exhaustion washes over the streaking team. They can't keep their focus and when a team loses focus they typically find it improbable to win games.
This is happening early in games with the Heat during this streak. It happened against the Celtics, Cavaliers, Bobcats, and even Orlando to a degree Monday night. The thing is the Heat have found a way to interrupt this typical pattern of behavior and correct it before it becomes too big of an obstacle to overcome. They've found a way to beat the house at their own game and turn the odds in their favor over and over again.
We keep waiting to put this streak in perspective, but we have to know the end point to properly approach this task. The end point hasn't happened after game 27 in a row. We have to wait until Wednesday night in Chicago against the Bulls to know just exactly what we're looking at with the Heat.
One-third of the regular season in a row. That's just absurd.