March 18, 2013
The storyline going into this game was that it was the Milwaukee Bucks back in 1972 that snapped the Lakers 33 game winning streak, and now they had the chance to snap the Heat's streak at 20.
That 1972 Bucks team had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson. With all do respect to Monta Ellis and Larry Sanders, it's not quite the same thing.
In 2013 we saw a lot of what we have seen from the Heat in the 20 games prior - very good defense (the Bucks shot 37.1 percent from the floor) and big games from the big three and the Heat pulled away for a comfortable 107-94 win on the road.
That makes 21 wins in a row for the Heat, the third longest streak in NBA history. They can tie the second longest - 22 wins from the fluke run of the 2008 Rockets - with a win Sunday over Toronto. If you're looking for the next game that could likely trip up the Heat look at Monday - the second game of a back-to-back facing Boston, a good veteran team that will be fired up for the challenge.
The Heat took control of this game in the second quarter when they went on a 12-2 run, one that not so coincidentally started after Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade re-entered the game. Wade had returned from taking a bad fall in the first quarter and having to pass a concussion test, but he still finished the game with 20 points and 9 assists playing more of a facilitator role than normal.
Chris Bosh was the best of the big three on this night, he had 28 points on 12-of-16 shooting, with 7 rebounds thrown in. His jumper was falling and that just spaced out and the Bucks defense, which left room for LeBron James to slash into the paint. He had 28 points.
The Heat led comfortably in the second half, and any time it felt like the Bucks would make a run one of the big three would shut it down. Or they'd get a three from Shane Battier or a good defensive play from Norris Cole (hey, that can happen).
The Bucks vaunted backcourt could not knock down shots like they needed - Monta Ellis was 3-of-11, Brandon Jennings was 6-of-15 and J.J. Redick was 4-of-11. That's not going to get it done against the Heat.
This well could be a first round playoff matchup, and while one should be careful about reading much into playoff results based on regular season games, you get the feeling this wouldn't last very long. The Heat and their defense are just too much.