On February 1st, the Indiana Pacers – led by David West’s 30-point performance – sent its fans home happy after defeating the Miami Heat 102-89.
Since that night, the Baltimore Ravens have won the Super Bowl, Tiger Woods is once again the number one golfer in the world and the Miami Heat had yet to lose another game – until tonight.
The Chicago Bulls defeated the Heat 101-97, putting an end to Miami’s 27-game winning streak, leaving the accomplishment as the second longest in NBA history.
The NBA record 33-game winning streak set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers is now safe.
Perhaps some members of that Lakers team popped open some champagne in celebration, something the city of Miami is clearly used to, thanks to the ’72 Miami Dolphins. Just don’t include Jerry West in that mix, as the former Lakers star recently told the Miami Herald that it wouldn’t bother him, and he thought Miami breaking the record would be “a wonderful story”.
Any time a win streak gets this inflated, it’s an impressive feat, but along the way, milestones also get critiqued and compared to history, especially when a polarizing figure like LeBron James is intertwined into the whole ordeal.
Looking back, critics would point to an overload of talent in Miami, when compared to a weak Southeast division that features three teams with winning percentages well below .400 (Washington, Orlando and Charlotte). But in the end, only six of the victories came against divisional opponents (two games each against Atlanta, Orlando and Charlotte).
Now that the streak is officially extinguished, let’s take a look at some statistical tidbits surrounding LeBron James and the Heat over the last few months of the NBA season.
Analyzing LeBron James and the Heat’s 27-Game Win Streak:
- As previously mentioned, 6 of the 27 wins were against Southeast division opponents – the Bobcats, Hawks and Magic.
- More than half of the wins (14 of 27) were against teams that fall in the league’s bottom ten, as per the latest NBA Power Rankings at TWHS.
- Five of the 27 wins came against teams cracking the Power Rankings top ten, including the Thunder, Clippers, Knicks, Grizzlies and Pacers.
- 17 of the 27 wins during the streak were by ten points or more and two of those were by twenty points or more
- The Heat defeated six teams more than once, five of them twice (Hawks, Raptors, Cavs, Magic and Bobcats) and one three times (76ers)
- LeBron James posted the game-high rebound total in 5 of the 27 games
- James also posted the game-high point total in 14 of the 27 victories
- Finally, LeBron posted the game-high assist total in 16 of the 27 wins
In the end, Miami and its streak was done in by the team’s biggest weakness – rebounding. The Heat are ranked 30th in the NBA in rebounding, while Chicago was 6th entering the night. The final tally for the game was 42-31 in favor of the Bulls, and Carlos Boozer had a key offensive board late in the game that sealed the deal for Chicago.
The Heat must still remain as the clear favorite to win the NBA title, win streak or not – and as previously mentioned, while Miami faced numerous teams in the bottom third of the league during this stretch, it was a key run for LeBron and Co. to build momentum and confidence.
Finally, the following is how each team fell in the most recent edition of NBA Power Rankings at The Wife Hates Sports, with the Heat being the obvious choice for first place. The teams highlighted in RED were victims during Miami’s 27-game stretch.
KP’s NBA Power Rankings: March 27, 2013
* Games and statistics include results up to 7pm on March 27, 2013
1. Miami Heat (158 points)
2. San Antonio Spurs (134 points)
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (127 points)
4. Los Angeles Clippers (107 points)
5. Denver Nuggets (90 points)
6. New York Knicks (87 points)
7. Memphis Grizzlies (86 points)
8. Indiana Pacers (75 points)
9. Brooklyn Nets (73 points)
10. Golden State Warriors (51 points)
11. Houston Rockets (49 points)
12. Chicago Bulls (48 points)
13. Atlanta Hawks (47 points)
14. Los Angeles Lakers (28 points)
15. Milwaukee Bucks (26 points)
16. Boston Celtics (23 points)
17. Dallas Mavericks (22 points)
18. Portland Trail Blazers (5 points)
19. Utah Jazz (2 points)
20. Washington Wizards (-19 points)
21. Toronto Raptors (-27 points)
22. Minnesota Timberwolves (-28 points)
23. Philadelphia 76ers (-32 points)
24. New Orleans Hornets (-32 points)
25. Sacramento Kings (-45 points)
26. Detroit Pistons (-50 points)
27. Cleveland Cavaliers (-51 points)
28. Phoenix Suns (-58 points)
29. Orlando Magic (-74 points)
30. Charlotte Bobcats (-91 points)
* All stats per ESPN.com
The Wife Hates Sports’ NBA Power Rankings system has a method to its madness, attempting to be different and not just rank by popularity and record. It mixes a secret formula of six completely different categories, meshed into a points system. The categories don’t just include team results regarding record, but how each team has performed recently, as well as incorporating some statistics on both a team’s offense and defense.