If you care about long regular season winning streaks in basketball, you missed an important thing.
Miami lost to Chicago, ending their streak at 27.
And so it ends at 27. Phew. Those ’71-’72 Lakers can crack the champagne open, or something. Miami trailed the whole way in this one, Chicago bruising their way to buckets and stops and generally pestering the living hell out of Miami until the game came to a close. From the opening tip, Chicago did its basketball-turned-football thing where it physically intimidates its opponent – starting with Kirk Hinrich, of all people, tackling LeBron on a fast break. But even without Joakim Noah, Marco Belinelli and Derrick Rose, the Bulls found enough scoring punch to squeeze out 101 points, including several timely threes down the stretch to push the game out of reach.
The biggest blow came with under one minute remaining, Miami trailing by five and Chicago in possession of the ball. Nate Robinson jacked a three as the shot clock expired, but Carlos Boozer managed to muscle Chris Bosh out of bounds, corral the rebound and put it back over a soaring LeBron James. And that, as per usual, was the staple of Chicago’s dominance – relentless rebounding, led by Carlos Boozer’s 17.
So now Miami trudges on through the rest of the regular season, and we can expect their intensity level to dip more than a few notches. They have the Eastern Conference all but locked up, and championships are the only measure of their success anyway. At this point they can only hope to stay healthy, which they’ve been remarkably good at all season, and wait for the month of basketball they’ve been anticipating all year.
Jeff Green’s game-winning layup pushed Boston past Cleveland.
Heading into last night, Boston had been riding a five-game losing streak and skidding themselves nearly into 8th place in the Eastern Conference. But even after the 93-92 win, the Celtics hardly look like anything other than fodder for a first round sweep. Anyway, about Jeff Green: after Alonzo Gee knocked the ball out of bounds with 2.1 seconds remaining, Jeff Green caught the inbounds pass and drove to the hoop, soaring over two defenders as his layup went through the hoop as time expired.
But the best part about this entire sequence was Jeff Green’s reaction in the aftermath: he went into the stands to find his heart surgeon – you might remember that he missed all of last season with a heart ailment – and squeezed him nice and tight. It was a nice beyond-the-basketball moment, and it’s especially sweet for Green, whose career had never seemingly lived up to its potential until his sort-of-breakout season this year.