History beckons for the Miami Heat, but it will take 13 wins more for their name to enter the NBA’s pantheon. Friday’s defeat of Milwaukee took the reigning champions’ current winning streak up to 21 games, the third-longest in league history. One more in Toronto on Sunday will bring them level with the Houston Rockets' freak run in 2008. They could then set their sights on challenging the record of 33 consecutive victories set by the LA Lakers in 1972.
The Heat are available in a special at 12.00 to match that mark and 1.02 against. While it’s clear they’re a class above anyone else at present, it’s still a huge ask - but not an impossibility. Just four of Miami’s next 12 games are on the road, and only one opponent – San Antonio (who they beat earlier this season) – are in their class. Eight are against sub-.500 teams, against whom they have a 26-3 record so far.
If they keep winning they could equal the magical mark of 33 versus Philadelphia on 6 April. Beyond that, three of their final six games are against lottery-bound opposition. It would be a momentous achievement to break the record. But Miami – who are now 2.15 favourites for the championship – could hardly ask for a better opportunity. The Heat are at -7.5 points on the handicap of 1.91 over the Raptors in the early game today and it’s hard to see their quest falling short in Canada.
Carmelo Anthony is again a massive doubt for the New York Knicks for their visit to the Los Angeles Clippers, with Tyson Chandler also touch-and-go. That’s bad news for the Knicks, who have already dropped the first three games of their current road swing by an average of 22.4 points.
The Clippers have been a little inconsistent of late, losing three out of their last five, all against good opponents. But if New York’s two All Stars are unavailable, LA should have an easy ride.
Best bet: Take Miami on the handicap over Toronto at 1.91