Check out Brian Windhorst’s top 10 moments of the Heat streak below (the original post can be found here).

The top 10 moments of Miami’s win streak

Marc Serota/Getty ImagesThe Heat’s rise over their 27-game win streak was littered with memorable moments.

What happened with the Miami Heat over the past eight weeks is something that will be recalled for years, even if they didn’t eclipse the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA record of 33 straight wins.

More than 40 years later, that Lakers streak still creates intrigue and inspires celebration. These Heat players, when they are old men, will relive what just happened with fondness. And those who have witnessed it will pass along stories about it to young basketball fans.

Here are 10 of the best memories from the Heat’s 27-game win streak:

10. The first comeback

Win No. 6: Feb. 12 vs. Portland (117-104)

The Heat’s still-infant winning streak looked to be in some trouble when the Trail Blazers, who had already scored a win over Miami earlier in the season, built a 14-point lead behind terrific shooting and dominating play from LaMarcus Aldridge.

But getting behind big didn’t faze the Heat then and didn’t bother them later. It turned out to be the first of seven times during the streak the Heat rallied from down double digits. Like a majority of those games, this one ended up turning into a relatively easy victory.

Even when the Blazers had a five-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Heat just pressed the gas and broke Portland’s spirit without mercy. LeBron JamesDwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined to shoot 32-of-49.

“It was a LeBron James game,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.

9. The one-two punch

Win No. 3: Feb. 6 vs. Houston (114-108)

James Harden’s previous visit to Miami had been miserable, as he and his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates lost Game 5 of the NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena and then watched the Heat celebrate. Harden performed poorly in that series, especially in the games in Miami, and that led some to question his limitations as a player.

He denied any of that was on his mind when he almost single-handedly stopped the Heat’s streak before it got going with a masterful 36-point, 12-rebound, 7-assist performance. He was the game’s best player during the fourth quarter as the Heat often were unable to stop him in a high-scoring game that was played at the Rockets’ preferred pace.

But the Heat countered with the best combination game from James and Wade up to that point in the season. Wade attacked, getting 13 free throws and making them all on his way to 31 points. James had 32 points and made 10 of his first 13 shots after hitting 13 of 14 in the game before against the Charlotte Bobcats.

We didn’t know it then, but James was on his way to one of the greatest shooting hot streaks in history.

Mario Chalmers also had a huge play when he drew a charge on Harden on a fast break in the final minute, which squashed the Rockets’ comeback attempt.

8. The streak buster

Win No. 13: March 1 vs. Memphis (98-91)

The Grizzlies entered the game having won eight in a row and would win their next six after leaving Miami with a seven-point loss. The dueling hot streaks turned this into a must-watch game, and it ultimately turned out to be one of the streak’s biggest victories.

Memphis was 3-1 against the Heat since 2010 entering the night and had crushed the Heat earlier in the season at home because the Grizzlies’ size gives Miami’s small interior plenty of problems.

James had his worst shooting night of the season, going 4-of-14, and for a while it looked as though his run of 475 regular-season games scoring in double figures was in jeopardy. Wade carried the Heat offensively for three quarters on his way to 22 points.

But James had a big fourth quarter and nailed a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left that clinched the game. At the time it qualified as the biggest shot James had made all season, a threshold that would be readjusted several times as the winning streak continued.

“LeBron made the big shot and that’s all that matters,” said the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol, who had 24 points. “He took a shot like he’s supposed to and made it, so kudos.”

7. “Mi casa es su casa”

Win No. 21: March 15 at Milwaukee (107-94)

James, Wade and Bosh all scored more than 20 points. It was, by far, the best collective game they’d played together in the Bradley Center, a place in which they’d struggled since coming together three seasons ago.

After the Heat downplayed the value of the growing streak for days, there was a noticeable difference in the mood and rhetoric from the team after the game. The Heat had become just the fourth team ever to win 20 in a row and, by avenging a 19-point loss in their last trip to Milwaukee, were on the verge of
tying the 2007-08 Houston Rockets for the second-longest winning streak ever.

Shane Battier, who was on that Rockets team, had channeled Miami Dolphins running back Mercury Morris a week earlier when comparing the streaks.

“Don’t talk to me when you’re on my block, talk to me when you’re on my porch,” Battier joked at the time.

Now that the Heat were ready to tie that Rockets team, and were on Battier’s porch, if you will, he had another message: “Mi casa es su casa,” Battier said.

What the Heat were doing and were capable of doing was sinking in and the players were embracing it.

“We don’t take it for granted because in professional sports wins aren’t easy to come by and the fact that we’ve won a fourth of our season [in a row] means a lot to all of us,” James said. “It’s not the ultimate for us, but it is an accomplishment we know about and we’re living in it. We’re just trying to make a mark in NBA history any way we can. We want to leave a mark so when we’re all done we can say our team was special.”

6. The game winner

Win No. 16: March 6 vs. Orlando (97-96)

Way back then it seemed like winning a game after being eight points down with eight minutes to go was a big deal. The Heat were guilty of falling asleep in this one, blowing a 20-point lead as Magic big man Nik Vucevic racked up 25 points and 21 rebounds.

But Vucevic was one of three Magic players to foul out in the fourth — which had coach Jacque Vaughn steaming about the foul disparity afterward — and he was not there when James drove to the rim in the final 10 seconds.

After missing two clutch jumpers moments earlier, James decided to drive left and go to the rim. Earlier that week, Michael Jordan said in an ESPN.com story that if he were guarding James he would make him go left because he usually pulls up for a jumper.

With no Vucevic in to protect the rim, James blasted past DeQuan Jones going left and put in the game-winning layup with 3.2 seconds left. It was James’ first game winner in the final five seconds since he beat the Magic in Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference finals.

“I had no intention of shooting another jumper,” James said, possibly in a veiled reference to Jordan’s comments.

5. Lower the roof

Win No. 7: Feb. 14 at Oklahoma City (110-100)

James put up 39 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists as the Heat jumped out to a stunning 15-point lead in the first quarter and never trailed. What was supposed to be one of the best regular-season games on the schedule turned into a one-sided affair.

James scored 10 points in a span of 1:46 in the second quarter to virtually break the Thunder. Kevin Durant tried to lead a desperate OKC comeback by scoring 22 points in the fourth quarter, but James squashed it with another series of shots.

After a long 3-pointer that settled the issue and silenced the Oklahoma City crowd that had been trying to will its team back into it, James glided past the Heat bench with his arms outspread in a downward pushing motion.

He later described it as an homage to Nick Van Exel, whose “lower the roof” became an anti-pop culture trend during his heyday in the mid-1990s. The “lower the roof” pose became a bit of a standard during the winning streak, especially when James made big plays on the road.

4. “Video game numbers.”

Win No. 12: Feb. 26 vs. Sacramento (141-129 2OT)

The box score was prodigious. James had 40 points and 16 assists, the first player to do that since 1994. Wade had 39 points and a career-best 19 field goals. Marcus Thornton had 36 points off the bench for the Kings, the most for a nonstarter this season. The Heat tied a franchise record for scoring. James finished off February shooting 64 percent.

Coach Erik Spoelstra called them all “video game numbers.”

It was hardly satisfying; the Heat blew several chances to put the game away when both Wade and James missed clutch free throws. Wade ended the game standing on the ball after Tyreke Evans stole it from him moments earlier and then missed a clear lay-in attempt, while Wade was trying to dribble out the clock. It was a fitting way to end an outlandish game.

3. The Battier speech

Win No. 1: Feb. 3 at Toronto (100-85)

For days the players had been not-so-subtly complaining that their schedule was going to cause them to miss the Super Bowl. After an afternoon game in Toronto, the Heat were scheduled for a three-plus-hour flight back to Miami during the big game and their charter jet was not equipped with television or Wi-Fi.

“It’s unfortunate,” Spoelstra said. “But we have a game the next day and we need to get back.”

But the coach had a secret plan, which he sprang on the players after their victory over the Raptors. They were not going home right away so they could rest up for the next night. They were going next door to Real Sports, a massive sports bar complex that had prepared a private balcony for the Heat players and staff to watch the game on its 40-foot TV screen.

Spoelstra watched game film through the first quarter but, eventually, joined the fun as the players watched, ate and generally celebrated like children who’d just been delivered a snow day.

On the bus on the way to the airport after the Ravens beat the 49ers and a 34-minute power outage delayed the Heat flight even more, Battier made a speech about the value of the moment to his satisfied and euphoric teammates. It ended up turning into a defining point in the season.

“You had to be there,” Bosh said. “It was after watching the Super Bowl. It was a good game, we had a great time. I guess the main focus was that you’re going to miss me when I’m gone. He tied in everything. He tied in life to the Super Bowl. It was just everything.”

Battier and his teammates have closely guarded the actual words, but they seemed to make a lasting impression on everyone as the Heat talked about it weeks later as being a pivot point.

“I talk from the heart. I’m an old man around here so I’ve seen a few things, heard from some great coaches. I don’t think there’s any magic in the words,” Battier said. “It was all in the virtues of teamwork, brotherhood and staying in the moment in my own special way. I was filled with the spirit of community and brotherhood. It was a fantastic day. I just wanted to let my teammates know how I felt.”

2. “I’m glad it happened to him.”

Win No. 23: March 17 at Boston (105-103)

Of all the big games James has played in Boston over the years, he did something in this one he’d never done before. With 10 seconds left he drilled the game winner, an under-pressure jumper at the end of the shot clock that completed a 13-point comeback in the fourth quarter to keep the streak alive when it had looked dead just a few minutes earlier.

James/TerryNathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesLeBron James drops the hammer on Jason Terry in Boston.

But that won’t be the memory James keeps from the game. That would be his vicious alley-oop dunk that flattened Celtics guard and longtime personal rivalJason Terry in the first half. Terry didn’t see James coming as he trailed on a fast break and Terry was swallowed by a combination of James’ speed and power.

James received a rare taunting technical for standing over and menacing Terry after the play. It was the latest chapter in a long-running feud between the players dating back years to when Terry committed a flagrant foul on James when Terry played for theAtlanta Hawks and James for the Cleveland Cavaliers. It escalated over the years with trash talk going back and forth, including Terry ripping James in a rap video. James also issued a hard foul against Terry in the 2011 Finals after Terry beat him badly off the dribble.

James then followed it up by showing Terry up to the media, something James had almost no history of doing.

“I’ve had a chance to [review] it, and it was one of my better [dunks],” James said later. “The fact that it happened to JT made it that much sweeter. Because we all know JT and he talks too much sometimes. And I’m glad it happened to him.”

1. “Unique and bizarre.”

Win No. 24: March 20 at Cleveland (98-95)

A 30-minute delay for condensation leakage on the floor. A fan charging the court to ask James to come back to Cleveland. The Cavs building a 27-point lead despite missing their three best players.
And none of that was the most amazing event of the night: that was the Heat’s stunning turnaround to keep their streak alive.

Miami executed a 34-point swing on the scoreboard in just more than 12 minutes of game time from the middle of the third quarter until the middle of the fourth. Then the Heat nearly lost an eight-point lead in the game’s final two minutes before finally putting the Cavs away as James actually got some cheers from a fan base that had made a cottage industry out of hating him for the past three seasons.

James, who had 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, called it “one of the most unique and bizarre nights of my life.” It was also a testament to how much the Heat valued the streak. The fifth game of a road trip and a 27-point deficit in a game that was meaningless in the standings would be a recipe for throwing in the towel under normal circumstances. This, of course, was not normal.

“After it becomes a thing,” Bosh said, “you don’t want to lose anymore.”

Heat Streat Now at 23!


Heat Streak: 22 Games!


Check out James Herbert’s (espn.com) recap of the Miami Heat’s winning streatk when it stood at 22 games (they beat Boston last night to extend it to 23).  The original post can be found HERE! 

Heat turn it up late to extend streak to 22

TORONTO — The Miami Heat matched the second-longest winning streak in NBA history much in the same way that LeBron James makes shots over his defenders: casually, calmly, like it was inevitable.

They did it where the streak started six Sundays ago, disposing of the Toronto Raptors108-91 at the Air Canada Centre. The Heat have now won 22 straight, the same stratosphere the Houston Rockets ascended to in 2007-08.

James finished with 22 points on 6-for-12 shooting, 12 rebounds, eight assists and two steals, a virtuoso performance now so commonplace that it hardly even stood out. Dwyane Wade had yet another efficient, dominant outing, scoring 24 points, dishing nine assists and shot 10-for-15 from the floor. Ray Allen added 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting off the bench, making four of his six 3-point attempts. The team shot 58 percent.

A few brief minutes of drama materialized in the second half, with the Heat holding a double-digit lead for the majority of the game. The Raptors needed less than three minutes spanning the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters to pull off an 11-1 run that energized the crowd and made it feel like this could be a trap game.

With the score tied at 77 a minute into the fourth quarter, the Heat pulled away fast and ferociously. The 28-4 scoring outburst was more a statement of superiority than a run, with the Raptors making just 1 of 14 field goal attempts. James watched it begin from the bench and didn’t score a single point of it but assisted Allen twice and Shane Battier once for open 3-point looks.

“He came out at the end of the third quarter and felt frustrated that he wasn’t playing at the top of his game,” Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. It’s somehow true: Having 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists through three quarters is not quite James at the top of his game.

“He was able to rest and came in and made some big plays,” Spoelstra continued. “That just shows you his level and his standard of play right now. We don’t take it for granted.”

The Heat don’t take their place in history for granted, either. But they aren’t dwelling on it. James says “it’s a special team, it’s a special ride,” but also says “it’s not about the streak” in his next breath.

“Our goal is larger than a 22-game winning streak,” said Battier, who played for those Rockets that reached this mark. “Our goal is to be the next to hoist the trophy. That’s all that matters. And this is another step on our journey. That’s the way we approach it. So the streak’s cool, but we have a bit bigger fish to fry.”

Battier addressed the team after the game in the locker room. No one had to ask him to do so; they knew it was coming.

“I told the guys just to enjoy it,” Battier said. “Enjoy the journey. Nothing we can do or say now to change what has happened in the last two months, which has been amazing. What we can control is a single moment. Seize it the best you can and move on. And that’s all you can do in life. If you can do that, you’ll live a long time and you’ll live a happy life.”

After talking to his teammates, the 34-year-old Battier joked with the media, calling himself “an old man” and mentioning he’s a member of the Washington Speakers Bureau. He also, of course, compared this to what he was a part of in 2008.

“The streak in Houston was much more out of left field, much more unexplainable,” Battier continued. “Not that this is explainable … but we did it with a bunch of role players and journeymen. Both streaks are the same from the standpoint that it takes amazing focus, concentration and effort, which is tough to do in February and March of an NBA season because it’s a long season. I’m proud of both streaks.”

“It certainly will come up,” Spoelstra said. “And if it’s talked about in the locker room and I’m walking through, it’s not like I’m telling anybody, ‘Hey, shhh, that’s forbidden. We can’t talk about it.’ We’re aware of it. But again when we started playing better two months ago it was about the process. It would be disingenuous if it changed right now and it was about the result.”

Spoelstra said every game is different and the Heat must now prepare for the physical and mental challenge of facing their rival as they travel to Boston to face the Celtics tomorrow. Boston will look to play the spoiler but with how Miami manhandled Toronto in the fourth quarter on Sunday afternoon, it’s easy to envision the success sustaining itself a little while longer.

“The way the guys are flowing together right now and playing together, man, it’s incredible,” said Heat big man Chris Andersen. “We don’t really even talk about the streak very much, we just take it one game at a time, we go out there and we focus on that next team, focus, get set in, put in our scheme, accomplish it, keep our level of energy up and play the style that the Miami Heat should be playing.

“And we win.”

Heat Streak Now At 21


Check out the Associated Press’ quick recap of tonight’s Miami Heat victory over the Milwaukee Bucks (the original post can be found here).

Heat overmatch Bucks as win streak soars to 21

MILWAUKEE – LeBron James and Chris Bosheach scored 28 points, and the Miami Heat made it 21 straight wins, beating the Milwaukee Bucks107-94 on Friday night.

Only three other teams have won 20 in a row in one season, and the Heat now trail just the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33) and the 2007-08 Houston Rockets (22) after moving ahead of the 1970-71 Bucks.

They withstood an early scare when Dwyane Wade walked to the locker room with a neck strain after crashing to the court. Miami led by as many as 17 in the third quarter, then withstood a push by the Bucks to remain unbeaten since a loss at Indiana on Feb. 1.

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