Streaking Through The Season

Dwyane Wade

The Heat have been on fire lately, but how long will that last?

Winning streaks are in fashion this year.  Last season, NBA fans saw only two winning streaks of more than 12 games: Cleveland and Dallas both won 13 games in a row.  Half way through this season? The Celtics (14), Spurs (12), Mavericks (12), and Heat (12) have already done it.

But winning isn’t the only kind of streak that’s popular; most of these same teams like to rip off 3, 4, or 5 losses in a row immediately after these periods of domination.

So what’s happening to NBA teams?  Why is it either a winning streak or a losing streak?  Fatigue? Pressure? Boredom?

Research into these streaks didn’t provide many answers, but it did uncover some interesting data.  Check out these graphs and facts about the five most competitive teams in the league right now (in no particular order):

Lakers' Season
1. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers only lost more than 2 games in a row once last year – and it wasn’t until March.  They’ve already had 3 and 4 game losing streaks this season. Let’s blame Kobe.

Heat's Season
2. Miami Heat
Miami still looks ridiculously good on paper, but those two winning streaks of 12 and 9 games? Only 7 of those 21 teams are over .500 right now. Playoff competition may be a little bit tougher than that.

Maverick's Season
3. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs may be dropping in the standings right now (down to #5 in the West), but that will turn around now that their star is back. With Dirk in the lineup, they are 24-5. Without him? An awful 2-8.

Celtics' Season
4. Boston Celtics
When the Big Four all play, Boston is 17-3. Injuries are expected considering their age, but how many games would Boston have lost so far if everyone (including Kendrick Perkins) was healthy? Two, maybe three at most, right?

Spurs' Season
5. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs and Celtics seem to be the most consistent of all the teams in the league. They are also the only two teams that haven’t once lost 4 out of 7 games (a.k.a. the equivalent of a playoff series). Do I smell a championship match-up?

One thing’s for sure: in this streaky season, the team that brings the hot hand into the playoffs will be the one that comes out on top.

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