The road to perfection, or at least late-season perfection, continues. The Miami Heat have now won 21 consecutive games, something only two other NBA teams have ever done, while Chris Bosh takes the place of Dwyane Wade as the sidekick for a night, with LeBron James firmly in place with another solid performance.
The victims this time? The Milwaukee Bucks, losing 94-107 at home. Recent games in the streak haven’t been so easy for the Heat, hitting some sort of rocky patch, possibly mental and physical fatigue, but it seems that after getting over that bump in the road, they’re back at it, doing what they do better than anyone in the NBA – pick a certain quarter to play some elite defense, and create enough separation for the rest of the game.
This time it was the second quarter, as they kept the Bucks on only 15 points and continued in the third quarter with 33 points that were too much for the Bucks to handle and get back from, as Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, in great form of late, combined for only 28 points and 9-24 from the field, in another example of how good Mario Chalmers can be on defense, while the Heat’s team effort takes care of the rest.
LeBron James finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists on a regular night on the job, while Chris Bosh matches him point for point by having a fantastic shooting day with 12 for 16, as the Heat continue what they began after February 1, when they were barely holding on to their lead in the East, and were especially struggling closing out games on the road. In their streak, they have won nine times away from home, most of these games by double digits, improving to 20-11 on the road this season.
There’s a luck factor involved to this season, with injuries troubling the team early instead of late. Dwyane Wade, with his playing style changing but not enough to really keep him out of harm’s way, always a risk to take a big hit. He had a nasty fall early in the game, crashing on his neck and suffereing from a strain the rest of the way, but not really planning on stopping for it. He finished with 8-17 from the field, 20 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists, in one of those games where it’s all about the big three offensively, and not much need for anything else.
With the Heat playing like that, there’s really no sense in looking at the schedule to try and pick where the loss that ends the streak comes from. It’s about them more than it is about the others; about staying healthy as well, and knowing where to pick their fights. While the bigger goal is winning the NBA title obviously, no one is planning on stopping anytime soon, not if they can help it, with the Lakers’ impossible 33 somewhat looking in reach now. It might be a cliche, but there’s no way of reaching that without taking it one game at a time, just like Wreck-it-Ralph, maybe proving to be some sort of subconscious inspiration.