Win streak is just the start for Miami Heat

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Sports,NBA,Associated Press

LeBron James and the Miami Heat are about to play another game in Cleveland.

Yawn.

That's what a 23-game winning streak will do for a team.

It mutes even the LeBron-Goes-Home-Again hype.

Someday the Heat will lose another basketball game. Maybe even Wednesday, when the reigning NBA champions drop by James' old neighborhood to take on James' old team, which happens to be decimated by injuries right now.

Still, could happen. Almost did in Boston on Monday night, save for James' game-winning jumper in the final seconds after Miami rallied from 17- and 13-point deficits to squeak past the Celtics 105-103.

But given how the Heat wrapped up their latest "W'' and what lies ahead, it may no longer be farfetched to think that the record of 33 straight victories set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers is within Miami's grasp.

"It means a lot," James said after the Boston game. "I know the history of the game. To be sitting in second place right now ... for us to be there and doing it in the way we want to do it, it means a lot."

Here's a breakdown of the next few stops on the potential road to 34:

At Cleveland (22-45) » While it will surely be emotional -- after all, James is coming home, again -- Miami would have to simply lay an egg to lose on Wednesday. The Cavs are incredibly banged up and out of the playoff race. Kyrie Irving is out, Anderson Varejao's season is over and on Tuesday, Cleveland revealed that guard Dion Waiters may need surgery to repair a problem in his left knee.

Detroit (23-46), Friday » Miami has lost one game at home since mid-December and returns to face a Pistons team that has currently lost nine straight games. Brandon Knight is hurting and probably still reeling from that DeAndre Jordan dunk incident when he was plowed over in the lane against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Charlotte (15-52), Sunday » The worst team in the NBA. Name five Bobcats. OK, name three Bobcats. Unless Michael Jordan himself plays ...

At Orlando (18-49), March 25 ?»

Here's the first real potential for a slip-up. The Heat are 2-0 against the Magic this season, those two wins coming by a combined three points. And it's on the road, in a back-to-back scenario. Miami has excelled on the second night of back-to-backs all year, but the Magic always get riled up for the Heat.

At Chicago (36-30), March 27 ?» Imagine the possibilities. A Bulls team trying to stay in the fight for home-court advantage in the first round of the East playoffs, facing Miami -- which provokes more lusty boos in Chicago than perhaps anywhere else -- and maybe, just maybe, with Derrick Rose back in the lineup by then?

Chicago has beaten Miami already this season, doing so on the Heat home floor. And while no opponent likes the Heat, the Bulls seem to have particular disdain for them, perhaps still ticked off over how James, Chicago native Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all decided to pass on a move to the Windy City during that ballyhooed summer of 2010.

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