In baseball, a long winning streak is virtually pointless. Even a mediocre team can run one off on pure luck alone. In the NHL or NFL, such a stretch better conveys dominance, but also guarantees you nothing. A long winning streak in those sports, like the one the Capitals put together in 2009-10, is nice. But all anyone cares about is whether you won a title.
The NBA is a different animal. String together enough wins and it also conveys dominance -- but in a sport where playoff favorites almost never lose early. That's where the Miami Heat appear to be after winning their 23rd in a row on Monday.
The 1971-72 Lakers won a record 33 games in a row. It is their record LeBron James and company are chasing. Los Angeles went 12-3 in the playoffs and won the NBA title easily. A 20-game streak by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1970-71 led to a 12-2 playoff run and a championship for Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The plus-20 anomaly in the modern era? The 2007-08 Houston Rockets, who won 22 straight, but lost in the first round of the playoffs.
- Brian McNally