Pacers Only Thing Standing In Way Of Heat Winning At Least 20 Straight?
The Miami Heat almost certainly are not going to break the NBA record for the longest regular-season winning streak in history, held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers with 33 consecutive victories (the longest in any major American sport). However, the No. 2 mark of 22 straight set by the 2007-08 Houston Rockets could definitely be surpassed by LeBron James and Co. in a couple of weeks.
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The Heat won their franchise-record 15th straight game Monday night in Minnesota, 97-81, covering for the 10th time in the winning streak. It was the Heat's 10th win in the run by double digits and their ninth win in 10 tries this season in the second of a back-to-back.
LeBron had "only" 20 points and 10 rebounds versus Minnesota while playing on a sore knee, but Dwyane Wade picked up the slack in perhaps his best game of the season with 32 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. The Heat joined the Clippers (17 straight) with at least a 15-game winning streak this season, the first time two teams to do that the same year since 2006-07.
Monday's game was never in jeopardy, but on Sunday at the Knicks the Heat had to rally from a 14-point halftime deficit in their 99-93 win. Trailing at the half hasn't been a problem in this streak as Miami has in eight of its wins. The victory in New York avenged two 20-point losses earlier this season to the Knicks. Looking at the Heat's upcoming schedule, it doesn't appear the streak will end soon outside of perhaps Sunday at home against Indiana. Miami is the biggest favorite this season at -18 on Wednesday at home against Orlando, one of the NBA's worst teams. On Friday, the Heat again will be huge favorites against a 76ers team that is sinking like a stone.
The toughest upcoming test should be against Indiana, a game that will have live play-by-play betting at Bovada. The Pacers are 2-0 this season against the Heat. However, both of those wins came in Indianapolis: 87-77 on Jan. 8 and 102-89 on Feb. 1. Miami was a 2-point favorite in each. Sunday is the final time the teams will meet before a potential playoff rematch, so the Heat will be looking to make a statement.
Indiana does have the league's best defense and is the NBA's top rebounding team, something that is Miami's No. 1 weakness. The Pacers are also just 13-16 on the road (15-14 ATS), while the Heat haven't lost at home since Jan. 4.
Should the Heat beat Indiana, LeBron will tie Michael Jordan's longest-ever NBA winning streak at 18, set by MJ's Bulls in 1995-96. That team won the NBA championship and set a league-record with 72 wins. No. 19 could come next Tuesday against Atlanta. The 1999-2000 Lakers and 2008-09 Boston Celtics each had 19-game winning streaks, but only the Lakers won the NBA title. Boston lost in the conference semifinals to Dwight Howard's Orlando Magic.
Following the Hawks matchup, Miami goes on a five-game road trip to Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston and Cleveland. So the Heat could stand alone with the second-longest winning streak of 23 in a row by winning at the rival Celtics on March 18.
The Heat are 4/11 at the book to win the Eastern Conference and 13/10 to win the NBA title.
Other Weekend Live Betting Games
On Thursday, the book offers the typical TNT live doubleheader, which this week is Thunder at Knicks and Clippers at Nuggets. The Oklahoma City-New York matchup would feature the NBA's two scoring leaders in Kevin Durant (28.6 ppg) and Carmelo Anthony (28.2). Melo could be in question, however, after leaving Monday's win in Cleveland early due to a knee injury. Anthony said the knee has been bothering him for several weeks. It's the first meeting of the season between the Thunder and Knicks.
L.A's visit to Denver is the Clippers' lone road game from March 3 through March 18 and it's the final meeting of the regular season with the Nuggets. Denver is one of the NBA's best home teams at 26-3 (20-9 ATS) and has won 11 straight at the Pepsi Center (9-2 ATS). The Nuggets beat the Clippers 92-78 on New Year's Day in Los Angeles' lone visit so far. That ended the Clippers' franchise-best 17-game winning streak. It was the second-longest ever snapped by the Nuggets. Michael Jordan's Bulls were on their 18-game run when the Nuggets beat them Feb. 4, 1996.
Friday, the book offers Hawks at Celtics and Rockets at Warriors. Houston, the NBA's highest-scoring team, loves playing the defensively challenged Warriors, averaging 128.0 points in two wins against Golden State. Saturday the live option is Bucks at Warriors, while on Sunday, other than Pacers-Heat, the live games are Celtics at Thunder, Bulls at Lakers and Pistons at Clippers.
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