MIAMI HEAT 27 GAME WIN STREAK - A CLOSER LOOK BY THE NUMBERS & PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS
Streak started: February 3rd
Streak Ended: March 27th (Lasting 51 days)
Road Games: 13
Home Games: 14
Average Margin of Victory: 11.9
Games Won by Double Digits: 17
Number of Games Miami Heat won by 20+ points: 1
Largest Win: 32 (109-77) March 24th Defeated the Charlotte Bobcats
Smallest Win: 1 (97-96) March 6th Defeated the Orlando Magic
Offense FG Shooting %: 50.8%
Defense FG Shooting % Allowed: 44.2% (ranked 7th best in NBA)
"Not really impressed with it or anything that they do," was the quote given by Jason Terry on the Miami Heat’s then 20-game win streak prior to the Celtics’ matchup versus the Heat on March 18th. Despite being the furthest thing from a Miami Heat fan I would have to respectfully disagree with Jason Terry on this one. Just for perspective, in the NCAA Tournament, teams have to win only 6 games in a row to win the National Title, but anyone who is slightly familiar with college basketball can tell you just how difficult winning those 6 straight is to accomplish. So winning 27 in a row and achieving the second longest win streak in NBA history is obviously very impressive and quite an accomplishment. Furthermore, what the statistics above clearly show is a superior level of dominance and consistency. 17 of the 27 games were won by double digits with the average margin of victory at nearly 12 points a game. Yes, there were several close games and tense moments during the streak, but the Heat consistently found a way to lock down and fight back to secure the win.
Before the streak, the Heat were only a .500 team on the road, with an 11 – 11 record. Winning a road game in the NBA is never an easy task, so to win 13 straight road games? Nearly impossible and definitely very impressive.
In looking ahead to what really matters, the playoffs, these statistics below from the win streak are more useful:
Games Won vs. Team above .500: 11
Games Won against Eastern Conference Playoff Opponents: 7
Games Won against teams that currently would are in playoff position: 12
Games where Miami Heat faced 4th quarter deficits: 11
It shows that although the majority of streak did consist of the Miami Heat beating teams below .500 there were still many high quality wins. They won 7 games versus teams they might have to face in order to win the Eastern Conference including beating their likely first round playoff opponent the Milwaukee Bucks (in Milwaukee) by 13 points. The win streak also consisted of a pair of wins versus the Hawks, a win versus the Knicks, Bulls, Pacers, and most impressively going into Boston and beating the Celtics at TD Garden in the regular season for the first time in 11 tries. They beat 5 teams that are currently in the playoff race in the West including most notably a win against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City. Lastly, and most surprisingly is the 11 games won where the Miami Heat faced 4th quarter deficits. A knock on this team in the years past has been their inability to win close games. But during this 27 game stretch the Miami Heat have played a handful of close games that came down to the final minutes and have managed to get stops on defense and confidently execute on the offensive end in order to get the win. Playoff games are often going to be tight, so it is this new-found confidence and success in crunch time that has been most surprising and impressive to me about their win streak. The Miami Heat and their fans may feel a little down as a result of last night’s loss to the Bulls, but ultimately it is Championship rings that count, and this Miami Heat team has never looked more dominant, focused, and likely to repeat as NBA Champions.