Schedule says Boston
After 22 straight wins, the schedule-maker will beat the Heat more than the Celtics on March 18. This is how it happens in the NBA, where regular-season wins and losses have to be measured by the schedule.
The Celtics game is the third road game in four days for the Heat. They play at Milwaukee (March 15), at Toronto (March 17) and then in Boston. The Celtics, meanwhile, only play the lowly Bobcats in the four nights leading up to the game.
The Celtics aren't a great team anymore. But they have enough parts that, when rested, can rise to a big moment. This will qualify.
Bucks stop it there
Ignoring the temptation to predict "never," the Heat will lose on March 15 at Milwaukee.
Twenty straight victories seem enough. Plus, the Bucks always play the Heat tough. Coach Jim Boylan has the Bucks playing well since taking over for former coach Scott Skiles, whose defensive schemes pack the paint to limit penetration. Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings will place extreme pressure on the vaunted Heat defense.
The Bucks won the previous meeting in Milwaukee by 19 points, and they improved themselves at the trade deadline with the acquisition of sharp shooter J.J. Redick. The Bucks feature the kind of physical, annoying defenders that occasionally frustrate LeBron James. Regardless, it'll be a Fear the Deer night as the Bucks will prevail.
March 13 in Philly
Los Angeles Times
Some team is going to have to play their best to stop the Heat because the way Miami is playing during this franchise-best 15-game winning streak, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Co. are not going to beat themselves.
The next two games for the Heat are in Miami against the Magic and the 76ers. That means the Heat will extend their winning streak to 17 games. Then they play at home against a Pacers team that has beat the Heat twice this season. Count on the Heat not letting the Pacers wrap up the season series. That makes 18 in a row. Then the Heat gets the Hawks at home. Make that 19 in a row.
If I have to pick a game the Heat will lose: at Philadelphia on March 13.
Pacers are dangerous
The Heat are the class of the NBA until another team knocks them off in the playoffs — if another team knocks them off in the playoffs.
The team with the best chance, the Pacers, also will face them Sunday in Miami.
And that'll be a dangerous game for the Heat, relatively speaking.
The Pacers will have a chance because they play superb defense. The Pacers entered Tuesday ranked first in the NBA in defensive efficiency, limiting opponents to 95.5 points per 100 possessions.
Indiana also has one of the league's better centers, 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert.
In any other era, Hibbert would be considered average. But these days, he's one of the sport's few quality centers. If he's playing his best, he can give the Heat some problems.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun