Found March 28, 2013 on Fox Sports Florida:
Baseball has August. The NBA has March. They are the dog days of the season. But at least it was nice of the Miami Heat to liven up this past month. When the Feb. 21 trade deadline passed, it looked to be time to count the days until the playoffs start or at least until there was a last-ditch fight for No. 8 seeds. Yet the Heat kept winning. And winning. And winning. And winning. OK, I wont write that 27 times. But Miami's streak captivated the nation during a downtime in sports in general. After losing 101-97 Wednesday at Chicago, the Heat ended up six games short of the Los Angeles Lakers record 33-game run of 1971-72. If it had to end, one supposes it was a suitable time since it paves the way for sports fans to pay closer attention to the Sweet Sixteen and beyond of the NCAA tournament. From Miamis standpoint, if it had to end before 33, nobody can complain about the timing. There are 11 games left in the regular season and the Heat need to get back to what is ultimately most important. It was never about the streak, said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. With us, we have a bigger goal. That, of course, is winning a second straight championship. The Heats streak wont be looked at nearly as favorably in history if they stumble in that quest. It was the same way with the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. They knew their legendary winning streak wouldnt mean much if they didnt claim the title. They were able to do it. Winning the championship is the most important thing, Keith Erickson, a forward on the 1971-72 Lakers, said after the Heats streak ended. Thats what Miami has to concentrate on now. Thats what matters. There were some bad habits picked up during the Heat streak. Seven times during it, they had to fight back from double-digit deficits to survive. Yes, the object is to win. But thats not always a good teaching tool. Spoelstra touched upon that several times during the streak. Now, Spoelstra has a loss he can bring up and perhaps his players will be more attentive. The Heat fell behind by 13 in the first half Wednesday. Although they did take a two-point lead late in the third quarter, they expended a lot of energy in coming back and it showed in the fourth quarter. As great as Miami (56-15) was during the streak, its still too early to fit the Heat for championship rings. After Wednesdays loss, its worth noting Miami this season has just a 3-6 combined mark against New York, Indiana and Chicago, the top three foes in an Eastern Conference that has been said to have no worthy challengers. The Heat, 1-2 against all three teams, still have home games Tuesday with the Knicks and April 14 with the Bulls, although both teams figure to rest top players for that latter one. Its still too early for the Heat to start really resting players. Sundays game at San Antonio and Tuesdays provide two more chances for Miami to try to not fall way behind against quality teams. For now, though, the Heat deserve a chance to reflect back on their incredible streak. They had impressive wins during it over top teams Oklahoma City, the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis, Indiana and New York. Its just very fortunate and Im very humbled and blessed to be a part of this team and be a part of a streak like that, said forward LeBron James, who got the streak started on Feb. 3, when he began a stretch in which he became the first player in NBA history to have six straight games of scoring 30 points and shooting 60 percent or better. Its one of the best that this league has ever seen, so we recognize that and rightfully so. But there is something more vital for the Heat. Whats really important is to get prepared for the playoffs, said guard Dwyane Wade. If the Heat can add the Larry OBrien Trophy to their streak, it truly will go down as a remarkable season. Who's Hot: One could rename what they hand out each Monday the LeBron James Award. The Heat star won Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the sixth time for games played last week. James did have two surprising games earlier this month when he averaged just 14.0 points. Since then, hes averaged 28.4 points in nine games. Who's Not:After scoring 20 points in 13 straight games, Wade has gone four in a row without reaching 20. Hes averaged 16.0 points during the stretch while shooting 44.6 percent. One issue has been a sore right knee. Wade had missed two straight games before returning to score 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting Wednesday at Chicago. Three thoughts 1. Yes, referees read NBA stories. So they no doubt will have seen what James said after believing he had gotten roughed up against the Bulls. It will be interesting to see how the calls go for James in upcoming games. The Spurs obviously will want to get physical with James the way the Bulls did. A lot of my fouls are not basketball plays," James said. "First of all, Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground. And the last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground. "Those are not basketball plays. It's been happening all year. I've been able to keep my cool and try to tell (Spoelstra), Let's not worry about it too much.' But it is getting to me a little bit because every time I try to defend myself I got to face the consequences of a flagrant (foul) or technical foul or whatever the case may be. Its tough. Its very tough. James got a flagrant foul in the fourth quarter Wednesday when he banged into Bulls forward Carlos Boozer with excessive force while extending his arm. Regardless of what had happened before with James, that was the right call. James doesnt say much without thinking it out. He knows everyone around the NBA will read his quotes. Stay tuned to see if what he said makes a difference because teams obviously are going to try to continue to be physical with James down the stretch and into the playoffs. 2. The magic number for the Heat is one to wrap up the top seed in the East for the playoffs. It would mark just the third time in history, following 1998-99 and 2004-05, that Miami has been No. 1 in the East. While that is a given, the Heat still are in a battle to have the NBAs No. 1 overall seed for the first time in their 25-year history. They have a two-game lead over the Spurs(54-17), but might need to win Sunday to feel comfortable. If the Heat win, they will claim the tiebreaker due to a 2-0 edge in the season series and would all but wrap up the top seed. But a Spurs win likely would give them the tiebreaker. If the series is tied 1-1 and the next tiebreaker is needed, it would be record against teams in the other conference. The Heat are 23-5 against the West and the Spurs 23-4 against the East. So a Spurs victory Sunday would give them two less losses against the opposite conference than Miami, assuming the Heat win Friday at New Orleans. The only way then the Spurs couldn't have the tiebreaker is if they lost their final two games against East teams, those being with Orlando and Atlanta. 3. It would seem odd to think the Heat dont get their full due. But some of that is coming from James. After James was asked after Wednesdays game why the Bulls make it tough on the Heat, he bristled. I dont know if I like that question, he said. We hear that a lot. Its never, What is it about the Miami Heat that makes it tough on other teams? Its always the Bulls or the Pacers or the Knicks or whatever the case may be. Teams make it tough on us. We make it tough on them. Actually, it was a perfectly legitimate question. The Bulls (39-31), despite being 16 games behind the Heat in the East, have a 2-1 season series lead. The questions also are legitimate about the Pacers and Knicks. They both also have 2-1 series leads over Miami. Quotes of the week I had everyone come in and put a hand on each other, and for the first time I mentioned the streak in front of the guys. Erik Spoelstra, who never spoke of the winning streak in front of his players until it had ended and he congratulated them in the locker room. If it happened along the ride while we were winning games, we were going to be extremely excited about it. But we werent pressing every game and saying, Lets win so we can get the (record). LeBron James, on whether the Heat were really trying to break the Lakers 33-game mark. It was an unbelievable streak that we were on. But in here it didnt feel like we were on this amazing streak. It was just we were playing basketball and we were finding ways to win games and it just so happened to result to 27 wins. Dwyane Wade, speaking after the end of the streak. Numbers game 11.9 Average margin of victory by the Heat during their 27-game winning streak. During their record 33-game streak in 1971-72, the Lakers outscored foes by an average of 16.0. 32 Biggest win by the Heat during their streak, 109-77, last Sunday over Charlotte. The Lakers biggest win during their run was 44, 134-90 over Atlanta. 1 Closest win by Miami during the streak, a 97-96 victory March 6 over Orlando. The narrowest margin of victory the Lakers had was four, 110-106 over Baltimore in the first game of the streak. Both teams did have one game during their streaks that went to overtime. 2 Number of the top four winning streaks in NBA history ended by Chicago. The Bulls also beat Milwaukee 110-103 in overtime March 1971 to stop the Bucks 20-game spurt. That was then the longest single-season streak in NBA history and now ranks fourth. Whats next? With the streak over, the Heat arent just playing out the string. Following a Friday date at New Orleans, they have intriguing games Sunday at San Antonio and Tuesday at home against New York. The Heat have a two-game lead over the Spurs (54-17) for the best record in the NBA, and a win Sunday would all but lock it up. Regardless, the game could be a preview of the NBA Finals. Tower of Power? Perhaps also in NBA history. The Heats 27-game winning streak has resulted in them being in the conversation about the best teams of all time. If they can add another championship in June, such talk will continue to be heard. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

LeBron James worries about rough fouls

LeBron James spoke out about the way he gets officiated on Wednesday night, saying he is starting to get concerned about how physical he believes some opponents are against him. James made the comments to reporters huddled around his locker in Chicago not long after he and the Miami Heat had their 27-game winning streak snapped, with the Bulls prevailing 101-97. He cited two specific...

LeBron James Gets the 'Old School' Treatment

Normally I like my posts to have some kind of substance to them be it my whit and wisdom (go ahead and laugh) or a video clip of something cool.  This post has neither. What it does have is a hilarious LeBron James meme. In case you've been out of the country and on a desolate island with no WiFi (so, Survivor contestants) the Miami Heat have been streaking. No...

LeBron James is tired of the rough play. Seriously.

LeBron James – one of the league’s most physical players – is upset with the “rough” treatment he’s received this season. He ******* whined sounded off following last night’s loss to the Bulls: “Those are not basketball plays and it’s been happening all year,” James said after the game, in reference to the two hard fouls. “And I was able to keep my cool and...

Bulls fan tries to steal LeBron James headband (Video)

After the Chicago Bulls ended the Miami Heat 27-game winning streak, a rather dejected LeBron James found his way down the visitor's tunnel at the United Center.Before he disappeared from view of the rowdy Chicago crowd, one Bulls fan attempted to jack his headband right off his head:Nice try dude...Nice try...

LeBron James called for controversial flagrant foul on Carlos Boozer (Video)

LeBron James was called for a flagrant foul Wednesday during the Miami Heat’s game against the Chicago Bulls after putting a shoulder and elbow into Carlos Boozer, who was setting a screen on him late in the game. James’ forceful shoulder into Boozer seemed to be retaliation for getting hit in the head on his team’s previous possession. He was called for a flagrant-1 foul,...
CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE

LeBron James fed up with hard fouls

The Heat's winning streak came to an end Wednesday against the Bulls and LeBron appeared to be most frustrated about two hard fouls against him during the game.

HEAT CHECK

Pat Riley to Danny Ainge: 'STFU'

Danny Ainge recently said that LeBron needs to stop doing so much complaining, and that apparently did not sit well with Pat Riley, to say the least. 

Column: Streak is history, the question remains

(Eds: With AP Photos.) By JIM LITKE AP Sports Columnist Losing game after game is nerve-racking, sure, but after a point, so is winning. Seconds after the NBA's second-longest winning streak was history, LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates walked off the floor solemnly in single file, their mood seemingly as dark as their black road jerseys. But moments later, inside the...

Ainge calls LeBron’s complaints about officiating “embarrassing”

You expect bloggers, fans and sports radio hosts to react to LeBron James’ whining about officiating. But an NBA general manager? Yesterday on WEEI, Danny Ainge joined the fray: “I think the referees got the calls right. I don’t think it was a hard foul,” Ainge said of the mixups involving James and Heinrich, as well as another one involving James and Taj Gibson. “I think...

Shut Up, Bruh

“Let me calculate my thoughts real fast before I say (what I want to say),” James said. “I believe and I know that a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays. First of all, Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground. The last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground. Those are...

Heat streak comes to an end; LeBron frustrated by hard fouls

The streak that some thought may never end, finally did. The Miami Heat ran out of magic and dropped last night’s game to the Chicago Bulls, 101-97, putting an end to their 27-game win streak. As they did a number of times over the past two months, the Heat fell behind by double-digits in the first half, only to come roaring back in the second half and take the lead. This time...

Bulls end Heat’s streak at 27: What should we take away from this?

The Miami Heat’s improbable 27 game winning streak came to a halt on Wednesday night in the Windy City against the Bulls, where they ended up losing 101-97. Many experts had this night circled on their calendars as the night that the streak would go down, and as it turns out those experts were right. But now that we can look back on the streak in its entirety with it now over,...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.