Could the Heat Beat the NBA-Record 33-Game Win Streak?

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by: Damon Turbitt

Before the 1971-1972 NBA season, no team in league history had ever won more than 20 consecutive games. Then came the Lost Angeles Lakers. They began that season with a decent 6-3 record, but it surely was nothing compared to what was to come. 33 games later, and with a staggering 39-3 record, their fourth loss came at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks, who ironically tied the previous record for consecutive wins with 20 just one season before. It took 36 years for another team to eclipse the 20 consecutive wins mark, but the 2007-2008 Houston Rockets would falter soon after and see their streak end at 22 games.

Well, there’s your little history lesson for the day, kids, and now I digress. What I’m trying to usher in is the fact that the Miami Heat have just won their 21st consecutive game, beating the Milwaukee Bucks eerily enough, and are raising the question of possibly beating the streak of the Lakers set over 40 years ago.

I’ll open my argument by saying that, in my opinion, the Heat are the most talented team in all of basketball. LeBron James will go down as one of the three greatest players to ever step on to the court. Dwayne Wade is a phenomenal guard, and one of the best players in the Association today. Chris Bosh is another star player that is also one of the best in the game, but is overshadowed by Miami’s plethora of talent. They have the best three-point shooter in NBA history in Ray Allen. Shane Battier is both a great defender and a 42.5% shooter from beyond the arc. I could go on, but I will stop there.

Despite all of this, the Heat will not beat the streak that was achieved by Los Angeles, all bias put aside. Is it because they are not one of the greatest teams of all-time? No. This roster should be remembered as one of the best to ever be assembled. But the fact of the matter is that the NBA is not what it used to be. Of course, there has always been a premier level of talent, don’t get me wrong, but the game has evolved exponentially over the last 40 years. Wilt Chamberlain, a member of the ’71-’72 Lakers squad, was a guy who averaged over 35 points per game for an entire season six times. His career season-high averages are 50.4 points per game and 44.8 points per game. Nobody will ever be able to dominate like that ever again because there is too much talent, and athleticism especially, in today’s game.

The Lakers also did not really have a weakness on their roster. They had four Hall-of-Famers (although Elgin Baylor was at the end of his career). They had a great point guard in Jerry West. They had Chamberlain inside. Everybody on the team could shoot – only one player had a shooting percentage worse than 43 percent. The Heat do have a big weakness though, and that is size. Granted, they are 50-14 without size, but they are 30th in the NBA in rebounding. How are they supposed to win 13 more games in a row? Winning 34 consecutive games with their size disadvantage would be an impressive feat.

Plus, you have to look at who the Heat have to play. Here’s a look at their next 13 games:

  • @ Toronto
  • @ Boston
  • @ Cleveland
  • vs. Detroit
  • vs. Charlotte
  • @ Orlando
  • @ Chicago
  • @ New Orleans
  • @ San Antonio
  • vs. New York
  • @ Charlotte
  • vs. Philadelphia
  • vs. Milwaukee

Of those 13 games, only four come against playoff teams. But in two days, they have to take on their rival, the Boston Celtics, who are disgusted with the current streak and are more than eager to end it. Paul Pierce said that he hoped for the Miami Heat to lose every game until the end of the season, while Jason Terry pulled his best Mikayla Maroney impression by saying basically that the streak does not impress him, nor does anything that the Heat do. The Celtics want to beat them badly, and this is where I see the streak ending, as Boston will pull out all the stops to end the streak at home.

What if the Heat beat the Celtics though? Well maybe I will type up another blog to further assess the situation. But no matter what, until Miami actually wins their 34th consecutive game, I will not say that it is possible.

The Team Who Has Had The Best NFL Offseason So Far

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by: Damon Turbitt

I could be wrong, but I feel as though this has been one of the more active, if not the most active, NFL offseasons in recent years. There have been many big names either staying at home or changing area codes, including, but not limited to: Wes Welker heading to Denver, Steven Jackson going to Atlanta, Reggie Bush taking his talents to Detroit and Mike Wallace leaving Pittsburgh for Miami. Nobody has matched the offseason of the Kansas City Chiefs though. From the offense to the defense to the coaching staff, the Chiefs had been very busy early in 2013.

Let’s start with the offense. The Chiefs had two big offensive weapons that everybody knew last year, being wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and running back Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs still had Charles under contract, but had the task of keeping Bowe in Kansas City, and they did just that, signing him to a five-year deal. On the topic of keeping players, they also were able franchise-tagged their left tackle Brandon Albert.

But they were 2-14 with these players…

Kansas City did much more than just re-sign their offensive weapons; they just turned into a potential top-10 offense with the trade for former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. Say what you want about Colin Kaepernick, I still think that the Niners would have made it to the Super Bowl with Alex Smith under center. But anyway. They just added a solid passer, which is not something that they have had in their offense. Now that they have both a solid pass and run game, defenses will have a much harder time preparing for the Chiefs. Kansas City also brought in a couple more targets for Smith. Dwayne Bowe is the number one receiver without a doubt, but they were able to sign Donnie Avery, and he will most likely be the number-two receiver next season. At tight end, the Chiefs were able to bring aboard Anthony Fasano, who played in Miami last season. He is a big target at 6’4″ and he caught five touchdown passes last season. I feel as though he has been under-utilized being in Miami, so it will be interesting to see how he performs next season. A passing game is what Kansas City needed, so these additions will turn their offense around completely.

The run defense struggled last season, but the Chiefs have begun to address that issue also. They already have Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, who are two solid linebackers that are capable of stopping the run, but they also went out and got Mike DeVito from the Jets, a 300-pound defensive lineman that will clog up the middle. As far as the secondary goes, they did not really need to make any moves – they already had Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers back there – but they made a couple of big acquisitions. First, they signed Dunta Robinson, who has played in 15 or more games in seven of his first nine seasons and also has 17 career interceptions to go along with almost 600 tackles. Is he the best corner in the league? No, but he is fast and will be playing with one of the most talented secondaries in the NFL. Also, they were able to sign Sean Smith, the former Miami Dolphin whose name has been getting some attention this offseason. In addition to the other three guys, this will be a scary secondary that will be able to cover the options that Peyton Manning and the division-rival Denver Broncos will be looking for in the upcoming year.

Now to the coaching. There really was not a better guy out there than Andy Reid. This is a coach who was the head of one of the most successful teams of the last decade in the Philadelphia Eagles. Although they never won a Super Bowl, the Eagles did manage to make one appearance while playing in five NFC Championship games. He had gotten a lot of criticism for the failures in Philadelphia over the last two seasons, but every coaching tenure runs its course. He has a great defense to work with already in Kansas City and, after all of the offseason moves, he has a great offense to work with too. The players have said that they liked Reid, so it looks like Reid is a good fit.

Call me crazy, but I think that the Chiefs are a playoff team with the roster that they have now. They have addressed their offensive needs, they have only bettered their defense and they added a coaching stud in Andy Reid. And keep this in mind: they still have the number-one draft pick this April.

Suns/Lakers Preview

Lakers try to put drama behind them as they return from long trip

The Lakers finished off their annual Grammys road trip on Sunday in a losing effort to the Heat. The loss brought the Lakers’ record to 4-3 on the trip, and their overall road record to an appalling 9-18 this season. 

Luckily, the Lakers are back at the Staples Center, where they are a much better 15-10. Tonight, they look to avenge their loss against the Phoenix Suns after losing 92-86 in Phoenix in the first game of their Grammys road trip.

Keys to the game: The Lakers must rebound the ball. Since Pau Gasol injured his foot in Brooklyn, the Lakers have been unable to out-rebound their opponents over the last three games, despite ranking third in the NBA in rebounding. Suns center Marcin Gortat managed to pull down 12 rebounds, including four offensive, in their last meeting. Both Earl Clark and Dwight Howard must be ready to rebound the basketball tonight.

The Lakers also need to not turn the ball over. As of today, the Lake Show ranks 25th in turnovers per game, giving the ball away over 15 times per game. This stat also proved to be crucial in their last match-up against Phoenix. Los Angeles turned the ball over 19 times while falling apart and squandering a double-digit, fourth quarter lead. Good ball handling from Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash will be crucial.

Prediction: I am confident when I say that Los Angeles will win this game tonight. Last time, they had everything going for them until the fourth quarter. The Lakers were also forced to play much of that fourth quarter without Howard, who re-aggravated his right shoulder. Despite a tumultuous fourth quarter against Miami, the Lakers were very efficient shooting the ball, while Kobe played well as both a scorer and a facilitator. The Lakers want revenge, and I think they will get it tonight. I like Los Angeles to win 112-96.