After a stretch of games against the NBA’s underbelly, the Miami Heat’s relentless pursuit of the league’s longest-ever winning streak is set to become a lot harder.
With 27 consecutive victories behind them, just six shy of equalling the record, the reigning champions go into the home straight with a series of awkward hurdles which start with a visit to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.
The hosts have only won nine of their last 22, as their fabled defence has developed holes and Derrick Rose appears destined to remain a cheerleader until next season.
Still, the Bulls still have the weapons to make it yet another uncomfortable evening for their Eastern rivals if Joakim Noah is able to return from a foot injury. However, the Frenchman is a doubt and that could leave Nazr Mohammed to try and fend off Miami in the middle.
Traditionally, there’s been stern resistance awaiting. Over the last three seasons, the Heat’s 7-7 mark against the Bulls is their worst against any opponent. But on current form, back Miami to come out on top in a scrap this time.
Having started at 20.00 two weeks ago, LeBron James & Co. are now down to 4.00 to win 33 in a row. From here they go to New Orleans, who ended Denver’s 15-game run on Monday, and then to San Antonio, the leaders in the West. It’s about to get very interesting…
At the other end of the food chain, there’s a clash of the NBA’s bottom feeders tonight, when Orlando visit Charlotte in a potential decider for the best odds in the Draft lottery.
The Magic have two more wins (18) than their woeful rivals and they will get a boost with the return of Hedo Turkoglu from a suspension for a positive drug test.
Yet since Orlando lost to Charlotte in January, they’ve won just four times – a run which included a further loss to the Bobcats.
With Magic leading scorer Arron Affalo done for the season, back the Cats to take a rare win on the handicap of -3.5 points.
Best Bet: Take Charlotte over Orlando on the handicap at 1.91
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