x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

A fine streak of winning streaks in NBA and NHL

Surely you heard about the Miami Heat, who before losing last week had won 27 straight games in the NBA, second to the LA Lakers' 33 from 41 seasons ago.

LeBron James and the Miami Heat went 27 games unbeaten.
LeBron James and the Miami Heat went 27 games unbeaten.

This has been an unique year in US sports, with teams stitching together uncommonly long winning streaks.

And there is a good reason. Sports teams seem bent on disproving the tenet that athletes cannot stay focused and determined throughout the long slog of a regular season.

Surely you heard about the Miami Heat, who before losing last week had won 27 straight games in the NBA, second to the LA Lakers' 33 from 41 seasons ago. Less conspicuous was the Denver Nuggets' 15 in a row, which equalled the 21st-longest in NBA, and six wins from fourth all-time.

The NHL, insisting on equal time, earned it. The Chicago Blackhawks opened the year by securing at least one point in the standings - meaning, a victory or an overtime setback - in 24 consecutive outings. All but three were straight-up wins. Counting six games from last season, the Blackhawks avoided defeat for the second-longest period in history, trailing only the Philadelphia Flyers' 35 straight in 1979/80.

Once Chicago proved mortal, the NHL's most ongoing string of wins - 17 by the 1992/93 Pittsburgh Penguins seemed vulnerable.

Had Sidney Crosby, who is LeBron James on skates, not taken a puck to the kisser that dislodged several teeth and relocated his jawbone, the incumbent Penguins might have broken their franchise and NHL record. Instead, with Crosby on the mend, the Pens' succession of wins was halted at 15.

With the baseball season underway, don't be surprised if this pattern of streaks spills over into MLB as well.

sports@thenational.ae