Players understood his point.
“At the end of the day, a win is a win in our league,” said reigning MVP LeBron James, who averaged exactly 27 points per game during the 27-game winning streak. “We’ve gotten better throughout the season. Each and every month we’ve improved. We’ve started from behind some games, but for the most part we’ve played some great basketball. We’re not a team that builds bad habits. That’s not even who we are so we’re not worried about that.”
No matter how they did it, no matter how many double-digit deficits they erased or fourth-quarter comebacks they pulled off, the bottom line was Miami enjoyed 7½ weeks of dominance.
Entering Thursday, 10 NBA teams hadn’t won 27 games yet this season.
“Really proud of the grind of the last few weeks from my guys,” Miami forward Shane Battier, who was part of a 32-game win streak at Duke, 22 with the Houston Rockets and now 27 with the Heat, wrote on Twitter early Thursday. “The focus and effort (and luck) was phenomenal.”
Battier closed that tweet with two hashtagged words — onward and upwards.
Whether it was because they were revered or reviled, the Heat probably got more eyeballs on NBA regular-season basketball than any team had in some time, with people watching to root for either the streak continuing or the streak ending.
They were must-see TV, as proven by national networks like ESPN and NBA TV scrambling to pick up Heat games as the streak rolled along. ESPN said the overnight rating for Heat-Bulls was the fifth-best of any regular-season game ever shown on the network.
Media coverage was as intense as any time during the Big Three era in Miami. On Monday in Orlando, the visiting locker room was overwhelmed by reporters. And on Wednesday in Chicago, Wade freely said he was ready for the circus to end.