The Miami Heat are currently owners of a winning streak of historic proportions, having won the last 27 games they played. It is the longest winning streak the NBA has seen since the two biggest professional basketball organizations, the NBA and ABA, merged on August 5, 1976. However, the actual quality of their play over the past 27 contests, while unprecedented on an historical level, is not even unprecedented for the Miami Heat this season.
True, the Heat have played better over their past 27 games than they did over their first 43 games of the season. Over the course of their winning streak, the Heat have outscored their opponents by an incredible 13.2 points per 100 possessions.
Prior to the beginning of the winning streak, the Heat had outscored their opponents by 6.3 points per 100 possessions, meaning they have more than doubled their efficiency during their run. While the Heat of the first 43 contests were good, the winning streak version of Miami has been nothing short of amazing.
The areas in which the Heat have improved the most is shooting percentage and generating turnovers.
Since the Heat's 44th game of the season, the team has increased its true shooting percentage from 57.8 percent to 59.9 percent and have been almost unstoppable on offense.
The improved shooting efficiency is one of the main reasons why they have scored 116.3 points per 100 possessions during the winning streak. Before the streak began, the Heat had scored 112.1 points per 100 possessions.
On defense, the Heat have created turnovers on 17.6 percent of their opponents' possessions during their streak, significantly superior to the 15.5 percent during the previous 43 games.
They've also allowed 103.1 points per 100 possessions, 2.7 fewer points per 100 possessions than they were allowing opponents to score previously.
Still, despite the overall improvement in play, the Heat's last 27 victories are not any more impressive than their other 29 wins this season. As previously stated, the Heat have outscored opponents by 13.2 points per 100 possessions during their winning streak, which is slightly less impressive than the 14.6 points per 100 possessions edge the Heat held in their previous 29 victories.
While the Heat's current string of wins is one of the great feats we have seen in professional basketball, their production during the streak is really nothing to attach too much significance to. After all, the Heat have merely been extending the foundation, to a slightly lesser extent, they laid during their first 29 victories of the season.
Instead of focusing so much attention on the winning streak and charting it game by game with predictions of when it will end, we should be appreciating the ways in which the Heat have played and succeeded all season.