Now that the Miami Heat have extended their winning streak to 24 games, it might be a little bit more interesting to check out the differences in the dominance between wins. Yes, there are games in which LeBron James and Dwyane Wade dominate from the first moment, going on to win comfortably, but their last couple of wins and quite a few in general during the streak have been about impressive comebacks.
The most surprising fact that jumps into your eyes is that they’ve been behind during the second half of these games 14 times, which just goes to show how confident and efficient this team is in the fourth quarter of games this season. They trailed for pretty much the entire game against the Boston Celtics and still came up with the 105-103 win, with LeBron James pulling off some late game magic. He was at it against the Cavs, as the Heat came back from 27 points behind to some how win the game.
The Heat are second in the NBA at the moment in average fourth quarter margin, winning the final 12 minutes by an average of 2.2 points per game. In their last three games however, including the two huge comebacks against Cleveland and Boston, they’re winning those final periods by 12 points.
But they’ve also been very dominant during the streak, especially during its earlier part, winning 10 of the first 12 games in double digits, including at Oklahoma City and over the Lakers and Clippers. Their double digit wins over Indiana and twice over the Atlanta Hawks, home and away, haven’t gone unnoticed as well.
They led by 20 or more in 9 games during this streak. Oklahoma City, Indiana, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers were part of those big game leads.
At this point, it’s about much more than numbers. It would be foolish to argue about the fact that the Miami Heat are the best team in the NBA right now, although if you look at some advanced statistics, factoring in the strength of schedule and margin of victory are still putting the Oklahoma City Thunder ahead of them in terms of who’s having the best season. But numbers are great, up to a certain point. When a team that is the NBA champion, with the reigning MVP and are leading the Eastern Conference by a double digit margin, even the most advanced of statistics can’t change the minds of most people, and rightfully so.
The Heat keep talking about how this streak isn’t their goal. Everyone knows what the goal is – the NBA title, nothing else. LeBron James wants a fourth MVP pretty bad, but not as bad as he wants that second ring, and beginning to establish that dynasty everyone expects him to build in order to make the Bryant and Jordan comparisons a little more realistic.