Remember the Super Bowl and how long ago it seems now?
Well, that day, Feb. 3, is the day on which the Miami Heat began this lengthy winning streak. (Astute observers will recall that LeBron James was irked at missing the Super Bowl while flying from Toronto to Miami.) Miami hasn’t lost since Feb. 1.
The Heat’s 16th consecutive victory was a bit of a nailbiter, if the team that’s in the driver’s seat to repeat as NBA champion can have a nailbiter. LeBron James — surprise — came to the rescue, scoring on a strong drive against DeQuan Jones with three seconds left for a 97-96 victory.
“I was just trying to be patient and see if I could penetrate to the hole and I was able to do that and finish,” said James, who’d missed two three-pointers that would have tied the score earlier. “I had just settled for two threes before that so there was no way I was going to shoot another jumper on that play.”
The Heat’s streak is the second-longest of the season; the Los Angeles Clippers won 17 in a row from Nov. 28-Dec. 30. But Miami has a looong way to go before setting an NBA record. They’re tied for 13th with five other teams; the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers won a ridiculous 33 games in a row, from Nov.5 -Jan. 7.
“It’s not really in the back of my head or anything like what number we’d like to hit,” James said (via the Miami Herald). “If it hit a league record, I mean that’s crazy if we did at some point. We don’t want to lose, but we’re going to play each and every game and not worry about it.”
The 2007-08 Houston Rockets have the second-longest streak with 22 consecutive victories.
“I asked Shane [ Battier] about when he was with Houston when they won 22 in a row,” James said. “He said it got them up one spot in the Western Conference standings that year from sixth place to fifth. That’s crazy.”