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March 19, 2013

NBA: The path to 33 might not be that daunting for Heat

(Continued)

— At New Orleans (22-46), March 29.

Worst record in the Western Conference, and not even that good at home.

Heat victory odds: Excellent.

— At San Antonio (51-16), March 31.

The Heat would be going for No. 30 in San Antonio, and even the oddsmakers in Las Vegas might list them as underdogs on this night, streak or no streak.

The Spurs keep motoring along, through injury and illness and Gregg Popovich deciding to make some sort of point by resting four key players before a game in Miami — in November, not exactly a month for playoff prepping. By the way, the skeleton crew of a team playing that night in Miami nearly beat the Heat anyway.

Of the next 10 games, if the streak is going to end, this would seem like the most likely night for the loss to arrive. Either way, it's very much a potential NBA Finals preview.

Heat victory odds: Poor.

— New York (39-26), April 2.

The Knicks are perhaps the NBA's most hard-luck team of late, having blown Miami out twice by 20 points and getting off to a sensational start, then having key players get hurt as the stretch run approaches.

Still, Knicks-Heat games are always great theater. Imagine the scene in Miami — where Knicks fans always seem to show up — if the Heat are still looking for win No. 31.

Because they're home, edge goes to the reigning champs.

Heat victory odds: Good.

— At Charlotte (15-52), April 5.

Still the worst team in the NBA. Win No. 32 would be a foregone conclusion.

Heat victory odds: Excellent.

— Philadelphia (26-40), April 6.

On Final Four Saturday in college basketball, the Heat could punch their ticket to a defacto championship game. This would be for No. 33, and comes against opponents who very much play the Washington Generals to Miami's Globetrotters: Always seems to stay close, but never get it done.

Heat victory odds: Excellent.

— Milwaukee (33-32), April 9.

It's very likely that the Bucks and Heat will play in the first round of the East playoffs. But before that, if Miami is really going for No. 34 on this night, how fitting would it be that the Bucks are the opponent?

Jan. 9, 1972. The Bucks beat the Lakers 120-104, snapping that 33-game win streak. Does history repeat itself on April 9?

Stay tuned.

 

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