Jeremy Lin's 'Linning' Streak and 8 Unbelievable Active Runs Around the NBA
The NBA's slogan has changed for the 2011-12 season, but this is still "where amazing happens."
Entering Wednesday's full slate of games, there are "Lincredible" active streaks around the association that ought to be recognized.
Some seem likely to end immediately. Others, meanwhile, are more sustainable.
Whatever the case, be sure to enjoy them while they last.
San Antonio Spurs: 50-Win Seasons
With 12 consecutive seasons of at least 50 wins, the San Antonio Spurs have perhaps the only NBA streak of any kind to last from lockout to lockout.
And it's not necessarily over yet.
After Tuesday's 99-95 victory over the Detroit Pistons, Tim Duncan and company stand at 20-9.
They will need an improbable 30-7 record from here on out, but the addition of Manu Ginobili certainly helps. He has returned from injury to play in the past two games after 22 absences.
Beyond that, Tony Parker is having one of his best campaigns, while Daniel Green and Tiago Splitter are amid career years.
Even if unusual scheduling ends the Spurs' run, it will be remembered fondly for the multiple championships it has produced.
Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich: Player-Coach Continuity
Two keys to success in the NBA are talent and chemistry. Nothing contributes to the latter quite like familiarity, and through nearly 15 seasons, Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich can practically read each other's minds.
Popovich had less than seven months of professional head-coaching experience when he made the power forward the first overall draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 1997.
The franchise has won at least 60 percent of its games in every regular season since.
Pop is the longest-tenured coach with any team in the four major American sports. Duncan has been by his side through all the good times.
Their unbelievable streak of coexistence will reach a decade and a half during this year's NBA Finals.
However, the former All-Star is on track to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
Russell Westbrook: Consecutive Games
Basketball is not meant to be played everyday, so it's understandable that superstars and benchwarmers alike have missed games due to injury in this condensed campaign.
Not Russell Westbrook.
In fact, the fourth-year point guard has participated in every meaningful Oklahoma City Thunder contest—regular season and postseason—since he entered the NBA. That run of 297 straight is the longest active one for any individual on any team.
Perhaps more impressively, he has made 280 consecutive starts since Nov. 29, 2008.
Up to that point, the Thunder were a pathetic 1-16. Including the playoffs, OKC has since gone 160-120.
Can he carry the streak through his mutli-year extension?
Kevin Durant: Double-Digit Scoring
Sensational scorer Kevin Durant has also been instrumental in the recent rise of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
His bragging point is not his durability, but his point totals.
The "Durantula" has reached double digits in 228 straight outings (including the playoffs) over the past 35 months.
Two NBA scoring titles were awarded to him in that span. His 26.8 points per game average in 2011-12 has him in contention to three-peat.
Chicago Bulls: Leading After Three Quarters
The Chicago Bulls couldn't close out the Miami Heat in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals after taking Game 1.
The series was lost in dramatic fashion on May 26, 2011, as the stars from South Beach rallied from behind for an 83-80 victory, despite trailing after three quarters.
An adjustment has been made—the Bulls haven't blown a fourth-quarter lead in 22 opportunities this season. They are the only NBA team with a perfect record in such scenarios.
Even with MVP Derrick Rose out of the lineup eight times (and counting), Chicago hasn't gone soft.
Kobe Bryant: Poor Shooting
Kobe Bryant silenced his haters in mid-January with a quartet of 40-point games.
But, a shooting slump that began during that miraculous week has quietly continued.
The NBA's top scorer in 2011-12 has not converted more than 50 percent of his field-goal attempts into buckets since Jan. 10—an unfortunate streak of 18 games.
The Lakers are a pedestrian 10-8 in these cold performances. Their only double-digit win with "cold" Kobe came at the Staples Center against the miserable Charlotte Bobcats.
Charlotte Bobcats: 15-Game Losing Streak
It would be cruel to call the Charlotte Bobcats' 15-game losing streak unsurprising.
Let's be honest, though—this team was supposed to stink.
They traded away leading-rebounder Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trailblazers in Feb. 2011. Now, they are stuck with one of the league's worst frontcourts.
Neither of their first-round draft selections—Bismack Biyombo nor Kemba Walker—were projected to be instant stars in the NBA. As expected, both have been inconsistent.
ESPN's John Hollinger ranks the Bobcats dead last in offensive efficiency and rebounding rate.
They have been an abysmal 1-14 on the road. Unfortunately, five of their next six contests will be in such environments.
A month from now, the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers may have some company.
Six-Game 'Linning' Streak
The feel-good story of the 2011-12 NBA season kept on giving Tuesday night.
Media sweetheart Jeremy Lin nailed a three-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining in regulation to clinch a sixth straight win for the New York Knicks.
The Harvard grad had never played more than 25 minutes on any night in his nondescript career before breaking out with 27 points on Feb. 4.
He is quickly establishing himself as an elite player with at least 20 points and seven assists in all six games.
"Linsanity" is gradually coming back down to Earth in terms of shooting percentage. The turnovers are piling up, too.
Analysis suggests that the Lin-led Knicks will soon stumble.
My advice? Don't look to the future. Enjoy this and all other phenomena while they last.