Miami Heat's Snapped Winning Streak Humbles Defending Champs at Right Time

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent IMarch 28, 2013

Mar 27, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) reacts at the end of the second half against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. The Bulls beat the Heat 101-97.  Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat’s epic 27-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt on Wednesday night, as the Chicago Bulls were able to pull away—at home—for a 101-97 victory.

Miami’s run, which began back on Feb. 3, was the second longest in NBA history—six off the 33-game mark that the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers set over 40 years ago.

It was an impressive stretch to say the least, but a loss, especially against rival Chicago, will have the Heat superstars humbled and hungry heading into the playoffs.

Instead of feeling invincible during the upcoming best-of-seven series, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the supporting cast will carry the taste of bitter defeat and fresh disappointment with them.

Another way this snapped streak could benefit the defending champs is the fact that there are just 11 contests remaining before postseason play begins. Without the burden of trying to appease the media and fans, coach Erik Spoelstra can concentrate on tinkering with his rotation and tightening the lineups in South Beach.

The pressure on Miami to win every matchup was starting to take a toll and eventually something had to give. Now that this failure is finally out of the way, the Heat can concentrate in earnest on defending their title.

Don’t be surprised if the Heat drop a handful of contests prior to April 20—the date the playoffs begin. The superstars are likely going to get a much-needed opportunity to rest their legs while Spoelstra evaluates which big men he will rely on this spring.

While it sounds crazy, it’s possible that having the streak snapped was the best thing to happen to Miami’s chances to win it all again this year.

It’s a shame that this team couldn’t make history, but the bitter loss to Chicago should inspire the Heat to play harder and enter the record books another way—by winning the 2013 NBA Finals.