March 22, 2013
Ten, 15 years from now, what are we going to think about with this era of the Miami Heat? What will we be saying about LeBron James? Dwyane Wade?
A lot of that will be determined by how many rings this Heat core can rack up - it's not likely to reach the numbers of LeBron's brash predictions, but with LeBron reaching his peak years they will be threats to win a handful.
But when you think of those Jerry West/Wilt Chamberlain Lakers, the streak is part of that. When you think of the Jordan era Bulls, the 72-win season is part of that legacy.
The current 23-and-growing win streak the Heat are on can be part of their legacy. That streak could (likely will) grow Wednesday night when the Heat take on the injury-riddled Cavaliers.
James admitted that the streak has taken on an importance with the team in speaking with Fran Blinebury at NBA.com.
"It means a lot," James said. "I am a historian of the game. I know the history of the game. I know almost all the teams that have come through the ranks. To be sitting in second place right now, with so much that this game has given to our fans and everything, for us to be there, doing it the way we want to do it, it means a lot."
At a time of the year when the Heat might be coasting, might be resting guys and dropping games they shouldn't they are focused and making fourth-quarter comebacks. They want this.
"We're aware, and it's a special opportunity that we have with this group," said coach Erik Spoelstra. "And you don't want to take it for granted. You want to treat every day as a special opportunity to be with this group, to share these moments together, but more importantly to take a step closer to going after our goal. And every day that we improve puts us in a better position in a quest where nothing is guaranteed for anybody."
What might really worry the rest of the league about this streak is it is making the Heat sharper and more focused heading into the playoffs. Where their legacy will really be determined (this streak without a ring to cap the season will lose its luster). And right now it's hard to look around the league and see who can beat a focused, sharp Heat team in a seven game series.