The Miami Heat finally lost last night, falling 101-97 to the Chicago Bulls to break their 27-game winning streak.
The most interesting postgame quote came from Dwyane Wade, who told ESPN’s Michael Wallace:
“Nope, 27-1 in our last 28 ain’t bad. Now that it’s over, I’m glad that it’s over. See you all in the playoffs.”
It sounds weird for an NBA player to say that winning every game isn’t in the best thing for the long-term health of the team. But Wade has a point, and we only have to look to last year’s San Antonio Spurs as an example of the toll a winning streak can take on a team.
Over the summer Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told ESPN’s Marc Stein that his team’s 20-game winning streak doomed their season. San Antonio won the last 10 games of the regular season and the first 10 games of the playoffs before losing four-straight to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.
Pop said of the streak:
“I don’t want to win 20 games in a row [again]. Now that might sound … ‘Well, who wouldn’t want to do that?’ [But] it’s too much of a grind. I was hoping for a loss [in last season’s playoffs]. I thought about doing things to make sure we get a loss here and there, but you can’t do that to your team.”
He also said that losing the streak creates a hangover that lasts multiple games:
“When you win that many games in a row … you’re very likely going to lose [up] to three games when that thing is done. It’s just such a letdown. And in the playoffs you can’t afford that. Not against a team that is as young and talented as Oklahoma City.”
The Heat now have three weeks to take it easy and prepare for the playoffs. In the long-term, this upcoming lull will give them a better chance to win a title than if they were still going 100% every single night.
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