I scoff at just about anyone that would replace winning a championship with winning 33 contests in a row in the regular season. Those '71-'72 Lakers are immortalized and celebrated for that feat because they actually won the championship. If Miami can do the same, then fine, worship them. Don't get me wrong, not losing for weeks is a sign of you being a hell of a basketball team. Miami hasn't tasted defeat in 26 consecutive games as Eric Spoelstra's side seeks to make it twenty-seven straight at Amway Center this evening. Still, call me unimpressed by this unbeatable run.
The truth is, anyone can go on a win streak when officials have your side. God forbid the Heat commit more personal fouls than their opponents. FIVE times in the past 26 games has Miami committed more fouls than their opponent. Not even one-fourth. The favoritism for LeBron and Wade is ridiculous and can make a non-brainwashed individual gag. Give Miami their props for coming back from 20+ deficits in Boston and in Cleveland, but folks are conveniently forgetting the wins that they really shouldn't have accumulated. You know where I'm leaning towards...
Anyone with eyes knows this Heat streak should have ended at 15 on March 6th. That was with Jameer and Afflalo being mostly invisible with their scoring. How do you allow the top 3 performers of a club (Harkless, Harris, Vucevic) to suspiciously foul out during crunch time? All on questionable calls. I'll even let the Battier charge on Tobias slide because it's questionable. Even the DeQuan rejection at the rim. Harkless got hosed on multiple occasions that he was flawlessly defending LeBron. That weak loose ball foul on Vucevic when battling Bosh for the board was as ticky-tack as you can get. Nik's killing one of the best teams in basketball on the glass and in the paint yet he still can't get calls in his favor? There's something wrong with that.
With Arron Afflalo done for the season, Al Harrington shutdown, and Nik Vucevic still dealing with the illnesses that follow a concussion, Jacque Vaughn has only 10 guys he can throw at LeBron and company. That includes Doron Lamb who hasn't exactly been inspirational. However, a 13-point Vegas spread is still flat out disrespectful for a group of guys who in the 2 meetings this season have taken Miami to their limits. It doesn't necessarily mean everything that the loss of Vucevic signifies the loss of their 20-20 monster threat. Vaughn and his coaching staff clearly know how to exploit gaps in Miami's defense and can still be effective with Kyle O'Quinn and Andrew Nicholson at the center spot. It's all about learning from past mistakes from the previous matchups and not being fearful of growing and succeeding.
It will be nice to see an even more amazing crowd mix of Magic diehards and Heat 'fans' than what we saw on New Year's Eve. Orlando wins that night in regulation if Hedo doesn't play. To Miami, the Magic are just a number of an over-glorified supposed ride to greatness. To Orlando, the Heat are the defending champs. This is the Magic's first and only nationally televised game of this '12-'13 season. This is a chance for a group of men to shock the basketball world and lead-off SportsCenter for something that doesn't include Dwight. Hell, even Hedo's PED scandal wasn't a first story. Will the third time be the charm for the Magic men? Beat the Heat.