With their victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday the Heat added to their league best winning streak at 17 games. Miami would have win 17 more to break the NBA record set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. The closest team to get to that record was the 2006-07 Houston Rockets at 22 wins in a row. The Los Angeles Clippers also reached 17 wins in a row this season before losing. To say that reaching the halfway point to breaking this record, let alone being within 12 games is a tall order would be an understatement.
The question is whether the Heat, at the level of basketball they are playing up to now, can actually challenge this record.
Miami does have some factors in their favor in their quest to breaking the record. The main factor is the play of the Heat’s ’Big Three’ of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh during the streak. James has been playing with an efficiency not seen in the league in decades that has helped him be the only player to win Eastern Conference Player of The Month honors this season so far. Wade looks to be completely healthy after off season knee surgery had him starting slow. Bosh has been playing with better rhythm, with some inconsistencies, throughout the streak and is quietly contributing.
Another factor in the Heat’s favor is the fact their winning percentage of their remaining opponents this season is the lowest in the league. Favorable schedule aside, Miami would have to avoid their tendency to play down to their opponents such as the double overtime game against the Sacramento Kings on February 26 and Wednesday’s game against the Orlando Magic. That has cost the Heat some winnable games in the past and it could derail them from breaking this record.
Along with the possibility of playing down to opponents, Miami does have some bumps on the road on their way that could stop them in their tracks.
The first bump comes on Sunday in the Indiana Pacers, who have played Miami well the two times they have faced each other. The next bump would come on March 15 against the Milwaukee Bucks, who have also matched up well with Miami. Following that game would be the Boston Celtics on March 18.
Should the Heat get past those bumps their winning streak would reach 23 games, making them second all-time in the league. At that point Miami has four major bumps remaining in the Chicago Bulls on March 27, the San Antonio Spurs on March 31, the New York Knicks on April 2, and the Bucks once again on April 9.
If the Heat win all those games the matchup against the Washington Wizards on April 10 could be a historic night in the NBA.