The Miami Heat beat Milwaukee on two counts Friday night. Defeating the Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center was first, and, by doing so, overtaking Milwaukee’s claim to the third-longest win-streak in NBA history. Winning twenty straight in 1970-71 (as well as their only NBA title,) the Bucks had only been out-done by two teams since then. Just a season later, a star-studded Lakers squad put up thirty-three wins in a row. In 2007, the Houston Rockets managed twenty-two.
Beyond the continuation of their winning ways, Friday’s game had a special significance for the Heat. Miami was embarrassed by a hard-hitting Bucks team that bested them by nineteen points when the pair met in December. Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra told reporters after Friday’s game that he had spent extra time with his players watching footage of that December meeting, hoping to instill some kind of anger. Following the win, Miami’s Dwayne Wade confirmed that sense of vengeance, and added that the game was just another stop on the team’s tour of revenge.
Wade and company have most recently tied the Rockets win-streak, and analysts around the league are debating the possibility of a new all-time record. Others are more excited about a chance at back-to-back titles. History shows that teams with unusually substantial win-streaks during the season have about a fifty-percent chance of winning a title. History also points to teams such as Houston who finished their record setting year just third in their division.
Most of us expect veterans Dwayne Wade and LeBron James to lead the Heat to within striking range of the Lakers record. Those two have improved their play in March, putting a combined sixty points per night on the board. Lesser-known players like Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers have also stayed consistent down the stretch. Players like Chris Anderson have reinvigorated the bench.
Back in Milwaukee, the Bucks got one back on Sunday with an afternoon win against the Magic. The loss to the Heat remains poignant though, as the teams have become pseudo-rivals this season, splitting their two meetings thus far.
Bucks Might Spoil Heat Win Streak
The pair could increase the drama in the next few weeks, depending on how far Miami gets
in its quest to thirty-four wins. Should the Heat win-out to tie the Lakers at thirty-three, their chance at a thirty-fourth win would come on an April ninth game against the Bucks in Miami
. The meeting would be a kind of league-déjà vu; coming forty-one years after the Bucks halted Bill Shairman’s Lakers in Milwaukee.
Could Milwaukee be the team that goes on to spoil two record win-streaks?