March 13, 1948 – December 7, 1948: Washington Capitols win 20 straight games.
February 6, 1971 – March 9, 1971: Milwaukee Bucks win 20 straight games.
January 29, 2008 – March 18, 2008: Houston Rockets win 22 straight games.
November 5, 1971 – January 9, 1972: Los Angeles Lakers win 33 straight games.
February 3, 2013 – Present: Miami Heat win 21 straight games and counting…
So yeah, there will be some eyes on Sunday’s game, which tips off at 1 p.m. on TSN2. Is this the last time this year that anyone outside of Canada will care about the Raptors? Probably, unless they’re trolling on twitter.
Do the Raptors have much of a chance? Anything can happen, especially since the Heat are in the middle of a road trip and might take the game lightly. At the same time, they’ve done that a few times on this streak only to make a crazy comeback in super-casual fashion. That’s mostly because LeBron James’ PER in “crunch time” is approximately 1,000,000.
The Raptors HAVE won eight games against teams currently in the playoff picture, but that doesn’t really mean much when you’re playing the top team in the league.
The Heat actually started this streak against the Raptors back on Super Bowl Sunday, taking them down 100-85. Just an FYI, in case you like tidy bookends to your winning streaks. The Heat also beat Toronto in Miami in January in a very entertaining 123-116 overtime contest. The Raptors can hang for 42 minutes or so, but that seems to be the extent of it.
The Tale of the Tape
O-Rating: Miami 112.5 (2nd), Toronto 105.8 (13th)
D-Rating: Miami 104.3 (10th), Toronto 107.3 (23rd)
Pace: Miami 90.7 (22nd), Toronto 90.5 (24th)
Strength: Miami Having LeBron James (1st)
Weakness: Toronto Not Having LeBron James (T-2nd)
Vegas: Heat -7
Hollinger: Heat -6.5
Blake: Umm, yeah, backing the Heat here. Call it a hunch. I’ll say Heat by 11, as the Raptors hang somewhat close until James gets tired of toying with them and decides to start his St. Patty’s Day drinking a little early.
On that note, expect Devlin and Armstrong to be doing some shtick for St. Patty’s Day. You know what, though? Just enjoy it. It’s funny, and it’s a personality that not all announcers care to inject into their broadcasts. We (I?) might hate on the Raptors’ announce crew at times, but at least they try to make it fun (when they’re not blindly hyping the team or talking about Leo Rautins as the Greatest Big East Player Ever Who Would Ohbytheway Kill It In Today’s NBA).
As for the Heat, assuming they can take care of the Raptors, they’d then look to clinch the second longest streak ever in Boston on Monday night. You know the Celtics will be up for that one, but that might not phase the Heat right now.
At some point the Heat will have a let-down game. It’ll almost definitely come before the streak reaches 33. But I’m pretty sure it won’t come until AFTER they hit 22 today.