From the moment the bassline kicks in on the Miami Heat’s now-viral "Harlem Shake" video, it’s clear that this is a team truly enjoying its time together. There’s no place that the camaraderie has been more evident than on the basketball court, as the Heat (44-14) extended their franchise-record, 15-game winning streak on March 4 by defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves (20-37), 97-81. With the victory, Miami is now just two wins shy of the Los Angeles Clippers’ season-high mark of 17 set earlier in the year.
Though the Heat need 18 more wins to match the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ all-time record of 33, the feat is certainly in range as they’ll face only nine teams with winning records in the final 24 games of the regular season. Not surprisingly, LeBron James has led the way, shooting over 61 percent from the field and filling out the stat sheets with an average of 28.3 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and two steals. His partners in the South Beach triumvirate are keeping pace as well, with Dwyane Wade adding 24.5 points per game and just over six rebounds and assists, while Chris Bosh, who has played 13 of the 15 games, has averaged a solid 16 points and just over six rebounds.
With a seven-game buffer over the Indiana Pacers (38-22), Miami holds a steady lead in the Eastern Conference with a few months remaining before the start of the postseason. Interestingly enough, the last time the Heat lost was a road game at the Pacers on Feb. 1. As Miami prepares for a four-game home stand, Indiana appears most likely to cool them off, though the Heat also will host the Orlando Magic (17-44), Philadelphia 76ers (23-36), and Atlanta Hawks (33-26). Fans can purchase Miami Heat tickets from Vivid Seats for all upcoming games on the slate.
Elsewhere in the East, the New York Knicks (36-21) currently stand in third place, though they may soon have some company in the form of the fourth-place, Chicago Bulls (34-26). The Windy City has been waiting for months to see the return of its star, Derrick Rose, and now that he’s been listed as day-to-day, optimists hope he’s inching ever closer to a return to the Bulls lineup. The Boston Celtics (32-27) experienced a similar loss this year when Rajon Rondo suffered a season-ending knee injury, but the efforts of veteran Kevin Garnett have helped keep the squad in the mix for a playoff spot.
Over in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs (47-14) have rolled back the clock once again to show that age is but a number. Head coach Greg Popovich has sensational vets like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili meshing well with young stars like Kawhi Leonard, while the 36-year-old Tim Duncan is playing like he’s in his 20s, recording roughly 17 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks a night.
NBA Finals runner-up, the Oklahoma City Thunder (44-16), has continued to see progress from superstars, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and the star-studded Los Angeles Clippers (43-19) are right behind them thanks to their own duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. However, the rising Los Angeles Lakers (30-31) are now just three-and-a-half games behind the Utah Jazz (32-28) for a playoff slot, and with a roster boasting Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Dwight Howard, opponents will surely be hesitant to face the seasoned veterans come the postseason.
Plenty of marquee matchups remain, so head to the Vivid Seats marketplace for a great selection of NBA tickets on sale now.