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Breaking Down the Miami Heat's Win Streak Through the Eyes of Their Opponents

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 12: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives against Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Arena on March 12, 2013 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
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Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2013

The Miami Heat dropped the Atlanta Hawks 98-81 to win their 19th game in a row, just three wins off the pace of the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.

Most frightening about the Heat over their past 19 games has to be the nonchalant nature that they've been able to put forth, and still completely annihilate enemies.

Not only does it show a magnificent amount of chemistry among the defending champions, but it also shows that they still have another gear to shift into once the playoffs come around, perhaps multiple gears.

Their win over Atlanta was particularly eye-opening. Miami played a complete game as five players scored at least 12 points, while only Josh Smith had more than 12 for the Hawks (15 points on 16 shots).

Atlanta's reaction can more or less be summed up with a single picture:

@atlhawks players reactions after turning the HEAT in the kitchen...#HEATlive twitter.com/iRepTeamHEAT/s…

— Miami HEAT (@iRepTeamHEAT) March 13, 2013

Larry Drew pretty much summed up every other team's reaction of the past 19 games, at least when they're trying to cover their frustrations with a cliché basketball reaction (Via ESPN):

Coach (Erik) Spoelstra and his staff over there are doing a great job. Their team is really moving the basketball, they are playing together, they are playing at a very, very high level right now, and they're really good right now. We just got beat by a really good basketball team.

Going back along the line of teams they've beaten over the past month, Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel seemed to be one of the more frustrated coaches, although he was clear-headed about it.

Coach Frank Vogel: "They (HEAT) were under our chins on every catch, and we didn't handle that pressure well enough."#HEATlive

— Miami HEAT (@iRepTeamHEAT) March 11, 2013

While some reviews have gone the route of frustration, most have gone the route of sarcastic under-evaluation. Mike D'Antoni went just that way after a 10-point Lakers loss to the Heat as LeBron was in the midst of his ridiculously efficient streak (via ESPN):

You have to give them credit. They're good.

Some guys have even been downright delighted to have played the Heat close, just as Marcus Thornton was after the Sacramento Kings lost to the Heat in double overtime a few weeks back (via ESPN):

To be able to take that team to two overtimes just shows the testament of us growing. A team like that -- championship team -- they play great together. Obviously, I hate losing but it was a great effort by us.

Tobias Harris went down a similar route after LeBron dropped a buzzer-beater over the Orlando Magic in a 97-96 win, although I would hardly say that he was delighted about it (via USA Today):

They're one of the best teams in the NBA, if not the best and we gave it our all. They knew that. It's just a matter of a couple of seconds that could have changed the game. It's a tough loss for us but it's the right step in the right direction.

The one thing that's been a constant has been the general consensus that what Miami has been doing is downright impressive.

Even the players have had no choice but to marvel at the destruction that comes to town with the Heat, with Kevin Durant at the top of the list of guys ready to dish out a compliment or two (via ESPN):

It's fun. I take on the challenge every time we're playing. He had a great game. He was making some tough shots, man -- one-leggers, fadeaways in corners, 3s. So, you've got to tip your hat to that.

There's no telling how long the Heat are going to continue on this win streak, so the reactions could change and grow along the way.

If they get up to 23 and trump the Houston Rockets' streak from 2008, the reaction could go from frustration and amazement all the way to disbelief.

Should they improbably run their streak all the way to 33 games and go for the Los Angeles Lakers' streak from 1972, I shudder to think of how other teams will react.

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