The Miami Heat lost to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. And with that, their streak of 27 consecutive wins ended. Bill Simmons has a great analysis of how that regular season game felt like a playoff Game 7:
You had the underdog Bulls playing without their two best players against the most famous NBA team since Jordan’s Bulls. You had the best player in 20 years at the peak of his powers. You had a national TV audience and unparalleled stakes: Miami approaching an unapproachable record, the smell of history looming over everything, real greatness in the air. You had an intensely proud Bulls team hoping to turn that game into a street fight (1980s basketball, reincarnated), as well as a genius defensive coach who understood exactly how to beat Miami (or at the very least, make them sweat out no. 28). And you had Chicago’s spectacular crowd, one of the few old-school NBA fan bases left that (a) understood the stakes, (b) would never sell their tickets on StubHub to Miami fans, and (c) knew from experience exactly how to affect such a game.
I can’t remember watching an NBA regular-season game that felt like a Game 7 before. Those Super Bowl Sunday battles in the 1980s between the Celtics and Sixers or Celtics and Lakers always felt special, maybe even like playoff games … but never like a Game 7. Jordan’s return from baseball in Indiana had a special you-have-to-see-it energy, as did Jordan’s first post-baseball game in MSG and Magic’s 1996 comeback game against Golden State. I loved the spectacle of LeBron and Wade joining forces for the first time in Boston (opening night, 2010), and if you’re going back a few decades, I’m sure those first Wilt-Kareem and Wilt-Russell battles stood out in their own ways, as did Kareem’s Milwaukee team ending L.A.’s 33-game run in 1972. Even last week, Miami’s thrilling victories in Boston and Cleveland felt like playoff games. Just not Game 7s.
Excellent. Puts things in context, for both a casual and devoted fan. I like Simmons’s list of top ten records which he thought would never get broken.