With a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Miami Heat have won 15 in a row, their longest streak in franchise history. Yes, longer than any streak during the Alonzo Mourning era, longer than any streak the team put together with Dwyane Wade teamed up with Shaquille O'Neal, and longer than any streak with Harold Miner running the show. (What? He was baby Jordan!)
Regardless, the question becomes how many more games the reigning NBA champs can string together. Let's take a look at their upcoming schedule and show it isn't really done yet, as they head home to Miami for a four-game homestand against some less than stellar teams.
Wednesday: Heat vs. Orlando Magic, 7 p.m.
The Magic are just 5-25 in 2013, so they're having trouble beating, like, anybody. Certainly not going to take down a juggernaut.
Friday: Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 7 p.m.
The realization that Andrew Bynum probably isn't coming back this year has set in, and it's set in hard. After starting out the year roughly .500, a team led by Jrue Holiday is falling apart and has only won two of their last ten. Let's call this win No. 17 for Miami.
Sunday: Heat vs. Indiana Pacers, 6 p.m.
Wait, this could actually be a game. The Pacers have the league's best defense, and at 38-22, are second to the Eastern Conference behind the Heat. If any defensive combo is going to stop James and Wade, it could be Paul George and George Hill, and with Danny Granger back, this team now has a legitimate scoring threat.
But this is when this post stops being an analysis of which game the Heat could potentially lose and starts being an analysis of if they can lose. The Pacers provide a strong matchup against Miami as far as strong matchups go, but the odds are still stacked against them: for starters, even though they're second in the league, that puts them seven games back. Then, add that the game is on the road, where the Pacers are 13-15, and specifically in Miami, where the Heat have a league-best 26-3 record. Even against the Pacers, Miami should be a major favorite.
After Indiana, the Heat's schedule features a depleted Hawks team, Philadelphia again - a win that would hypothetically take a still-active win streak to 20 games -then the eighth seed in Milwaukee, a lowly Toronto team, a Ray Allen-themed rematch against Boston, and all of a sudden we can fast forward to the 27th, when they play Chicago, and the 31st, when they play the Spurs. If the Pacers can't stop this run, it could go on for a while. Of course, it's also conceivable the Heat could lose a game against a team they're superior to, but the way they're playing ...
For the record, the list of longest win streaks looks like this:
1. 33 games: 1971-72 Lakers
2. 22 games: 2007-2008 Rockets
3. 20 games: 1970-71 Bucks
4. 19 games: 1999-2000 Lakers, 2007-2008 Celtics
5. 18 games: 1969-70 Knicks, 1981-1982 Boston Celtics, 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls
6. 17 games: Six teams, including the Clippers this year
7. 16 games: Five teams
So if they keep going, they'll join some of history's best squads, and, uh, that Rockets team whose third leading scorer was Rafer Alston.
NBA fans might as well enjoy it. LeBron James used to be the best athlete in the league, but with flaws, like a faulty jumper and a fear of taking it in the post. Now he shoots 40.7 percent from three and leads a team with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in points, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage, and steals. That's pretty amazing, and we'll see how amazing it can get.