Miami's Win Streak In Real Perspective
Calling the Miami Heat's 27-game winning streak impressive doesn't quite give the team full credit for their historic run.
Looking at the 27 consecutive wins alone is too easy. It allows those that still dislike the Heat to nitpick the accomplishment and forget about the struggles they've overcome along the way. If we are truly to appreciate what the Heat are doing, we must consider the entirety of their time together.
We must remember the 9-8 start, which included three consecutive losses, in their first season together. Everyone expected, at the very least, the "Heatles" to get off to a fast start and the early struggles forced everyone to question if Miami's collection of talent would fit together.
We must also remember their 4-2 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. We watched LeBron James fold under pressure as Dirk Nowitzki led the Dallas to their first NBA title. At that time, people began to question if James would ever get over the hump and win a championship.
They've found a way to overcome their obstacles and become champions, but their journey wasn't easy. Traveling the hard road has prepared them for the challenge of defending their championship and dealing with the unexpected issues that pop up along the way. It's remarkable when you think about how the Heat have managed to refocus the attention of the basketball world back to the game. Their star-studded lineup still garners most of the headlines, but now it's because of the results their extraordinary talents have yielded.
One of the most admirable things the Heat have shown us is that even the most talented team isn't opposed to the idea of growth and maturity, elements that have been at the forefront of their season. Winning the championship only made them hungrier for more championships. The same thinking can be applied to their historic streak.
Winning 10 games in a row only made the Heat want to win 15. Winning 15 made them want to push it to 20. Winning 20 only made them want to win 25. And now they're seven games away from breaking the NBA-record of 33 straight wins. Not even the 41-year-old record, however, can shift their focus from their goal of winning another championship. It's all they want; everything that comes along the way is a bonus.
"Our historic run is about winning championships, that's what we want to be known for," LeBron James said. "But it's a process and we can be excited about whatever comes in between that process.
"We didn't have a goal in mind or say let's go on a long consecutive wins streak, but our goal is to win each and every game we play. It doesn't happen that way every night, but that's the way we approach every game."
The Heat have benefited from individual improvements from many of their key players. The individual efforts have reinforced the message that last season's championship isn't enough for James and his teammates.
"It's telling us that we're not content with where we were last year," James said. "We want to get better and we don't want to be the same team from last year. We want to continue to improve as a team. This year every individual guy came into the season a better player and it's made us a better team."
The individual improvements added to lofty expectations for Miami. Championships were always expected, but there were also thoughts of making history in some capacity.
"Yeah, we did envision challenging history," Chris Bosh said. "But you never know what way you're going to challenge it. We just want to win and that's all that's really important to us. You want to win championships, and that was our main goal, but we're learning we can challenge others things along the way."
The Heat have also benefited from great locker room chemistry. This is a team that genuinely enjoys playing together and being around each other. That's built strong bonds and made the tough parts of the season easier to navigate.
"The NBA season is a grind; 82 games is long," James said. "You're going to have times when you just don't feel it, but the best thing about that is when you walk in the locker room and see the guys you're playing with. That makes the games easier to prepare for."
Things couldn't be happening at a better time for the Heat. They understand how important it is to be playing good basketball at the right time. With the playoffs right around the corner, the Heat are playing at an unmatched level and thinking they still have room for improvement.
"This time of the year, you want to play well," Dwyane Wade said. "We've been playing well and still can get better; I don't think we've reached our potential. Hopefully we'll reach that in the Finals, if we make it. But the goal is to get better and better until the end of the year and we still have some growing to do."