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Heat win over Pacers wasn’t statement game — the streak is the statement

Mar 11, 2013, 11:44 AM EDT

Orlando Magic v Miami Heat Getty Images

Regular season matchups are terrible predictors of post-season series. Last year the Celtics had taken three of four regular season games from the Heat but fell in the playoffs. The season before the Lakers had taken two of three late in the season from the Mavericks only to get swept out of the playoffs. And there are many, many more examples from just recent seasons.

So in that sense, the way the Miami Heat easily tossed aside the Indiana Pacers on Sunday — a team I think may be the most difficult matchup out of the East for Miami on paper — still isn’t really a statement. The Pacers had beat the Heat a couple times already this season but that didn’t mean anything Sunday and will not mean anything come May.

This one game wasn’t any more of a statement than the previous 17 Heat games. We can try to read too much into one game when those games rarely are the full picture in and of themselves.

The statement is the 18 wins in a row.

The statement is simply that when the Heat are focused — particularly focused on the defensive end — it really doesn’t matter who they play.

Don’t expect the Heat to sweep through the playoffs, but the statement the 18 games makes is good luck beating them four out of seven.

It’s not one game or one win. But of the eight teams that have won 18 in a row or more in the regular season, five went on to win the title. That’s the statement.

Defensive pressure — to hold the other team in check and create turnovers leading to easy transition baskets — is at the heart of the Heat scheme. With the athleticism of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, with the quickness of Mario Chalmers, the smart play of Shane Battier and the energy of Chris Andersen off the bench, the Heat have the potential to overwhelm an offense. But Miami doesn’t always bring that needed eff0rt, which is why they looked beatable early in the season. With their style of play, if the Heat don’t bring the needed energy consistently their defense is pretty good but not great. On the season, they are giving up 101.2 points per 100 possessions, ninth best in the league.

But in the last 10 games that is down to 99 points allowed per 100 possessions, In the last five down to 94 per 100, fifth best in the league for that stretch. All the while their offense scores at a rate of around 110 points per 100 (they are second best in the NBA on the season).

When the defensive focus is there, the Heat do overwhelm teams.

Miami’s streak could go on a while if they maintain their focus. Tuesday night they get a Hawks team that has some size inside but may struggle on the perimeter against the Heat. After that comes a five-game road trip that includes a Bucks team with a few shooters capable of getting hot (hello Monta Ellis), and a Celtics team that also defends well (and Boston gets Miami on the second night of a back-to-back). Plus, on the road teams like the Raptors have a way of rising up and playing their best.

It’s also really easy to see the streak reaching 29, when they would face the Spurs in San Antonio. The Spurs are at team with the ability to handle pressure on the perimeter and expose aggressive defenses because they move the ball and move off the ball well — it’s hard to recover on them.

And that game still will be meaningless if the Heat and Spurs were to meet in the NBA finals.

The message would already have been sent. It would still simply be about the streak and what it means to the rest of the league.

  1. Distinguished Male - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    “It’s really easy to see the streak reaching 29…”

    Uh, sure. That’s like seeing an MLB player on a 30 game hitting streak and saying, “Oh yeah, he’ll reach 50 games and push for DiMaggio’s record, no problem.”

    The Heat have an impressive streak going, but it’s a little early to assume they’ll be knocking on the door of the Lakers record.

  2. 1heatedtoombrayduh - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    I must say i am enjoying this streak, but as a pessimist, i feel like we lose to ATL Toronto or Boston.. just have that feeling.. Any way, dont care if the streak ends or continues as long as we win that ship #Letsgoheat

  3. 1972wasalongtimeago - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    What can you say?

  4. 1972wasalongtimeago - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    I mean, the talk used to be whether the Heat were going to fail. Now it’s when will they ever lose ONE game again. This is once in a lifetime stuff

    • 808raiderinparadise - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      Yesterdays game was very telling, LeBron coasted on offense …. a guy like Chalmers goes 5-6 from 3pt land, Bosh was very good getting whatever he wanted, Wade was flying around and scoring off great defense, total team effort … while the best player in the world was grinding out defense, rebounds and facilitating …. scary good team, all this while Ray Allen being a luxury guy whos value will sky rocket in the playoffs when halfcourt game locks up.

  5. cosanostra71 - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Heat will lose to some bad team that somehow hits 60+% of their shots. That’s how these streaks always end right?

  6. 13arod - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    The only 2 teams that comes to mind that can beat the heat the spurs and the thunder

  7. lakerluver - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Are you referring to the same streak that should’ve ended in Orlando? Just asking.

    • thenmoveback - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      Is your username referring to the team that was supposed to be a #1 seed and compete with elite teams? Just asking.

  8. mungman69 - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Wait till Bynam comes back.

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 11, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      You might be waiting a while!

  9. lakerluver - Mar 11, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    No, my username refers to the team that wins titles in bunches and averages one every 3-4 seasons. It refers to the franchise that the biggest stars in the NBA have played for. It refers to the team that makes news when they DON’T win a title.

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Mar 11, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      Congrats lakerluver on all your franchise’s past success. Most of which I’m sure you were even alive for. I wish your lakers luck when they lose in the first round and are playing golf come May. Congrats on a awesome year!

  10. lakerluver - Mar 11, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    I was very much alive when the great Ervin Magic Johnson came on the scene. Been a LAKERLUVER ever since. And guess what, I’ve seen TEN titles since then. That’s 1…..0, sir. If my LAKERS do happen to go out in the first round it wouldn’t surprise me. I’m a realist.However, the LAKERS are in better position to win in the near future than just about 90% of the other franchises in the league.

    • leahcima1 - Mar 11, 2013 at 8:08 PM

      I want some of what this dude is smoking. Losers fantasize about the past while dreaming in their smoky haze. Wake up lakerluver this is 2013 and your Magic Johnson teams are so far in the rear view mirror no one can see them any more.

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Mar 11, 2013 at 9:30 PM

      Congrats, a laker luver but you are still trolling here. Did the heat beat the Lakers and the pacers yesterday? And your future lakers right now consistent of a bunch of ancient players and a center with a chronic bad back who doesn’t appear to take the game all that seriously. Again, congrats

      • bigrele - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        Don’t pay no mind to this moronic imbecile, lakerluver is the same jackazz that believes Kobe has a legit claim to GOAT, ha! Lmao @ this fool, Kobe is nowhere near nor will ever be or hold the mantle of GOAT; again he can’t hold Jordan’s jockstrap! There is only one GOAT & his name is Michael Jeffrey Jordan! As for your Lakers being set to win many more titles in the near future Ha AGAIN! Fool Kobe is on his last leg, TOO OLD! Dwight’s not a championship cog type player & bad back! Nash is ANCIENT! Metta FORGET IT! besides that they have D’antoni as a coach! Your team is pitiful & has NO WINDOW for a championship run anytime soon so get used to failure you loser! Just like Cowboy fans, ALWAYS living on past success, no one gives a rat’s azz about ur teams past titles; what have u done for me lately fool!

  11. kvanhorn87 - Mar 11, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    Odd what comments don’t make it on here. Earlier I posted my pick for the team that will end the streak. Why would that be held back? For the record, sad Sixers fan here thinks the Bucks will end the streak. Look at the matchups and stats in last 5 meetings.

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Mar 11, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      You don’t think the Heat remember that? That is all the more reason the bucks are gonna end up like Bambi’s mom. What? Too soon?

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