On Monday night, the Heat added drama, too, rallying from a 17-point deficit to beat the Celtics 105-103 in Boston on a game-winner by James that extended the Heat’s winning streak to 23 games. James was dominant, as Jason Terry found out when James went over him for an alley-oop/alley-oof dunk that caused #RIPTerry to trend on Twitter.
James finished with 37 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, and overshadowed a one-man show by Jeff Green, who had 43 points. The Heat moved ahead of the 2007-08 Houston Rockets and now have the second-longest winning streak in NBA history. Suddenly, it isn’t so absurd to start talking about when the 33-game streak put together by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers might fall. (Save the date: April 9, in Miami against Milwaukee.)
“Just trying to leave our mark,” James said. “We’ve got to leave our mark.”
The Heat’s streak began on Super Bowl Sunday, all the way back on Feb. 3. “What they’re doing is remarkable, because they’re getting the best every night, from everybody,” Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said (via Yahoo). “They trust now. You don’t want to get into a one-point game with them, because they have the ultimate trust in each other.”
This group was put together in the summer of 2010 and its confidence is growing daily, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst writes:
Taking things for granted is out of style in the Heat locker room right now. They’re soaking everything in and that’s why they continue to be dangerous, even when they could be in coast mode before the playoffs. That’s why they treated the game’s final minutes like it truly meant something. Because it does.
There’s no mistaking the Heat’s confidence that’s grown with the core group now having played nearly 250 games together. They have developed a calmness that, combined with a desire to make history, has them playing at a level perhaps they didn’t know was within them.
“We don’t win a game like this our first year (2010-11),” said Dwyane Wade, who had 16 points. “No matter if we’re up 17 or down 17 we’re confident. That’s a big difference when you’re out there playing. This is a team that’s familiar with each other, that’s comfortable playing together, comfortable talking to each other and making each other better.”
Can the Heat break the Lakers’ streak?