By Dion Caputi
Reaction continued Tuesday after the Miami Heat came from behind yet again to notch its 27th consecutive victory.
It’s becoming a trend that Miami finds itself trailing in the second half of games and having to make dramatic comebacks in order to keep the historic streak alive.
After erasing a near-insurmountable 27-point deficit last week against Cleveland, the Heat were locked into a tightly contested matchup in Orlando on Monday, before star forward LeBron James kick started a 20-2 run, contributing heavily to a 108-94 victory.
James, who finished the game with 24 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, has been a catalyst to the team’s undefeated streak, which began on Feb. 3 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
“I think it’s LeBron’s leadership,” said Humber College athletic director, Doug Fox. “You have to have that one individual who refuses to lose. It just shows you how incredible the guy is.”
“The whole team in general, they’re playing at a high level with consistent work ethic… especially with highly paid players,” said Fox. “There’s a lot of parity in the NBA. It’s incredible.”
This season Miami has continued showing the signs of dominance that was to be expected when James and former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh joined Dwayne Wade and the Heat in 2010.
With each win, the team draws closer to the legendary 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers squad – featuring Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, and Jerry West – which accumulated a record-setting 33 straight wins.
“You’re talking about a winning streak spanning over about a third of their season,” said John Sharpe, senior sport coordinator at Seneca College. “It’s remarkable that you compare it to college athletics where eight games in a row is impressive. It’s extremely important.”
Negatively affecting repeat chances?
In sports, skepticism can typically follow success, and it would not be out of the realm of possibility for outsiders to wonder whether ‘the streak’ may become the focal point of the Heat’s season, rather than repeating as NBA champions.
“I think regardless of the level you play in, you know what the ultimate goal is,” said Sharpe. “It’s about winning titles and being at the top of your game. [The streak] is definitely helping them learn to win under different circumstances.”
Stacking up to Lakers’ streak
Nostalgia has always had a place in pro sports as well, and every time an achievement in the present threatens one from the past, it can spark debate over which is more impressive.
The difficulty of the Heat’s undefeated run compared to the Lakers of 1971-1972 incites the discussion of whether or not players from distant eras would be competitive with the physically imposing athletes of today.
“It’s apple to apples,” said Sharpe. “The competition the Lakers faced in the seventies was the best in the world at the time, just like it is now for the Heat. It changes the game but I don’t think it’s as impactful against anyone’s cause.”
The first placed Miami Heat is on the road over its next three games, starting with a face off against the Eastern Conference rival Bulls in Chicago, a trip to lowly New Orleans, and ending with a blockbuster matchup in San Antonio against the Spurs – who boast the league’s second best record overall behind Miami.
For the record watchers, if Miami continues its winning ways, the team is scheduled to play what would be win 33 and 34 at home against Philadelphia and Milwaukee respectively.
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