LeBron, Wade & Miami Heat Look for Historic 23rd Straight Win vs. Rival Celtics

Matt ParkerContributor IIIMarch 18, 2013

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 03:  (L-R) LeBron James #6 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat look on against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 3, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The "Ides of March" posed no threat in the end.

There was no "Catch-22" in Toronto.

The Miami Heat's latest hurdle in their bid at history: The "Luck of the Irish" and the Eastern Conference rival Boston Celtics.

In winning their 22nd consecutive contest Sunday afternoon against the Raptors, the Heat tied the second-longest winning streak in NBA history, matching the 2007-08 Houston Rockets.

Ironically, Houston's streak was stopped by Boston that year on March 18, as the eventual champion Celtics traveled to Houston and crushed the streaking Rockets, 94-74.

Boston is on an impressive streak of its own, winning 11 straight at home—all without All-NBA point guard Rajon Rondo.

In fact, the Celtics' current home dominance began Jan. 27 in an inspiring, double-overtime win against Miami, as Paul Pierce notched a triple-double and Kevin Garnett turned back the proverbial clock with 24 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Miami has lost just once since then. Boston is not impressed.

The Heat's last regular-season victory in Boston came when the Celtics were also defending NBA champions six years ago.

And while Miami has lost its last 10 regular season visits to TD Garden, sprinkled in over that time are also two playoff victories that ultimately swung those series in the Heat's favor.

In Game 4 of the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals, with Boston threatening to even the series at two games apiece, LeBron James scored 11 points over the last 6:50 of regulation to help force overtime. The Heat would pull away in the extra session to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Then, in Game 6 of last season's Eastern Conference finals, James personally extended the series to a seventh and final game by delivering a 45-15-5 masterpiece that saved Miami's season and, perhaps, his reputation as a high-stakes performer.

Indeed, Miami earned a second ring by virtue of that performance.

Their current success is due in large part to the consistent greatness of not only James, but Dwyane Wade, who is enjoying a torrid March, averaging 23.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.5 steals per game while shooting 56 percent from the field and 81 percent from the stripe.

Former Celtic Ray Allen will look to build upon a stellar fourth quarter against Toronto Sunday that saw him score 16 points as part of a 28-4 Heat run that quickly turned a tie game into a blowout.

The Heat have won 10 straight games away from Miami and are 10-1 in the second game of back-to-backs; expect both marks to be be tested against the proud Celtics Monday night.

You can throw streaks and statistics out the window when veteran teams with recent playoff history and a healthy disdain for each other match up. With Boston fighting for the fifth seed in the East and Miami all but locked into the No. 1 slot, these teams could meet again in the second round of this year's playoffs.

Throw in the addition of a national TV audience, and this game promises to be memorable.

Look for Miami to make history against arguably the NBA franchise that leads the league all time in that category.