The Chicago Bulls defeated the Miami Heat in the United Center on Wednesday, 101-97, snapping the Heat’s 27-game winning streak, the second longest in NBA history. The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers hold the record with 33 straight games. While this may come as a disappointment to Miami fans, the loss may actual prove beneficial for the team's post-season chances. The Heat's streak eliminates any pressure they may have had going into the playoffs and allows the team to rest its starters. NBA winning streaks rarely translate into NBA titles, so the Heat can now focus on the real goal of winning another ring.
If the Heat had continued to win, then all effort would have been focused on that achievement instead of focusing on winning their second NBA championship. That would have put tremendous pressure on the team throughout the rest of the season, and even more pressure if they had carried the streak into the playoffs. The last thing the team needs in their quest to repeat as NBA Champions is to create the type of media shark-infested environment that existed during their first run for the championship in 2011-12.
During that period, when the "Big Three" of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh formed this era’s "super team," more people were interested in portraying James as the villain that left Cleveland than as a businessman maximizing his opportunity. The media played up his braggadocios comment to win multiple championships and his decision to announce his free agent signing on a nationally televised sports show. They stoked the fires of envy, resentment, and jealousy, and when the Heat came up short in the NBA Finals that year, they sensed there was blood in the water and sought to feed their rapacious appetites.
Last year, the Heat actually won the championship and now they are favorites to repeat. The Heat have answered all their critics. In three short years, they continue to justify the decision to bring in three $100 million superstars. What they have accomplished in three years – NBA runner-up, NBA Champions, and a 27-game winning streak – would be enough to make most franchises the stuff of legend, but the Heat appear to be just beginning.
The Heat have their eyes on becoming one of the best basketball teams in NBA history. That can only be done by winning championships. Make no mistake about it, winning 27 straight games is much more difficult than winning a championship. By comparison, the Chicago Bulls' longest winning streak was 18 games during the season they set the single season record for wins with 72, but at the end of the day, the "chip" is what matters.Thirty 30 NBA teams have had winning streaks of 15 games or more, including the Heat and this year’s Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets, and only 11 have gone on to win a NBA cChampionship. The bottom line is winning streaks are impressive, but in the NBA, the only thing that matters is winning 16 games during the post-season.
The Heat have avoided becoming the New England Patriots of '07-'08. What good is it to go undefeated or have a record setting winning streak if you come up short in the championship?