It wasn’t easy, but the Miami Heat have now won 20 games in a row in the National Basketball Association with a 98-94 win over Philadelphia Wednesday night in Philly. The Heat are now just the fourth team in NBA history to have a winning streak of 20 or more games in a season.
- Wade has been excellent over the Heat’s 20-game winning streak.
LeBron James had 27 points but it was teammate Dwyane Wade who tipped in a James’ miss to preserve the lead and the victory. Wade had 21 for the Heat who actually trailed by 3 with less than four minutes to go.
The Heat have four straight road games before returning home. They’ll play at Milwaukee tonight, at Toronto at Boston and then at Cleveland before returning to South Beach. There, they will have winnable games against Detroit and Charlotte. While Milwaukee could pose a threat, I see only Boston as truly potential road block.
If you want to look far ahead, their record-tying 33rd straight win would ironically be against the Sixers in South Florida. There are a couple of very dangerous games between now and then however. On Easter Sunday, the Heat travel to San Antonio for a potential NBA Finals match-up. The only other game I’d be concerned about is a visit from the New York Knicks on April 2nd.
I have contended all along that Miami will stumble but it won’t be against a top team. They tend to play down to their competition at times as they did Wednesday evening and I think that’s where they get caught up.
Due South of the Keystone State, the Los Angeles Lakers were playing in Atlanta and not only did they lose the game but they may have lost Kobe Bryant for an extended period of time as well. On what Bryant has deemed a ‘dirty play,’ Atlanta’s Dahntay Jones got his feet underneath Bryant as he contended the jump shot along the baseline.
While it was clear Jones got up close and personal to Kobe, to call the play dirty is a bit of a stretch. I see this happen routinely in NBA games. Had Jones turned and put his rear end into Bryant before coming down in order to box him out it then that could have been called a foul so what would you have him do?
At this time, the Lakers are saying the Bryant is out indefinitely with a sprained left ankle. With less than 20 games remaining, what will this do to the fortunes of the Lakers who finally clawed back into the eight playoff spot? They lead Utah by a mere half game. Any way you spin it, this can’t be good for LA.
Games to Wager this Week
LA Lakers at Indiana – The Pacers bombed in their big match-up with the Heat last week and now have a chance for redemption against Kobe-less LA. The Pacers are very good at home so I love them in this one.
Memphis at Utah – The Jazz have slipped out of the playoff race and can make a huge statement in winning against the Grizzlies. Memphis has actually climbed in to the three-spot as of today and certainly has a shot at the two as well. Utah desperate and at home. Take the Jazz.
Golden State at Houston – The Warriors are currently 6th in the Western Conference while the Rockets are in 7th. With pressure off momentarily because of the Kobe injury behind them, I like Houston at home.
Detroit at Portland – The two teams I thought for sure would make runs at the last playoff spot in their respective conferences have disappointed greatly. The Pistons are a lost cause, but the Blazers still have a breath. Take Portland at home.