Their winning streak finally over, the Miami Heat did yesterday what they had planned to do all along.
They took the day off.
While the circus atmosphere around the team may slow down now — until the playoffs start, anyway — the way the reigning NBA champions go about their business over the final 11 games of the regular season probably will not. Miami’s epic, historic, sometimes-mindboggling 27-game winning streak ended with a 101-97 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, and Heat guard Dwyane Wade was among those sounding absolutely relieved afterward.
“It really didn’t matter to us,” Wade said. “If you get it, it’s awesome. If you don’t, we still won 27 games in a row. That’s pretty awesome. So, we really weren’t like, ‘We’ve got to get that record.’ Not at all. And now that it’s over, I’m glad it’s over.”
Next up: Friday night at New Orleans, where the Heat will try to return to their winning ways.
Miami’s quest for NBA history ended with the Heat six games shy of matching the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the league’s longest winning streak. The Lakers will keep their record, but the biggest Lakers star of this generation offered the Heat plenty of respect when their run was over.
“I think just as a student of the game, as a fan of the game, you appreciate those kind of streaks and you realize how difficult it is to put together that big of a streak,” Lakers star Kobe Bryant said after learning of the Heat loss. “Obviously the Lakers winning 33 in a row was phenomenal, but the Heat’s one was just as impressive.”
Still, the Heat insist they can get better.
When Indiana beat the Heat on Feb. 1, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra’s postgame theme was that his club had to get better. Nearly two months later, when the Heat streak ended in Chicago, much of Spoelstra’s postgame remarks had the same theme.