Instead, the Hawks trailed for the entire 48 minutes last night as the Heat rolled to a 98-81 win for their 19th straight victory. Only three teams have had longer winning streaks now in NBA history: the 72-73 Lakers (33), the 07-08 Rockets (22) and the 70-71 Bucks (20).
The story of the game for the Hawks lied in the number of turnovers and the number of free throws. Atlanta had a whopping 24 turnovers, compared to just 16 for Miami. Miami went 22 of 30 from the free throw line, compared to just 10-14 for Atlanta.
No Hawk was immune from giving the ball away. Nine Hawks had at least two turnovers on the night, resulting in a lot of fast break chances for Miami. The Heat had a 26-18 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. The Hawks' last gasp came with the score at 41-40 in the second quarter, but a 10-0 Miami run extinguished any hope.
Those statistics tell the tale of a team that is hungry to make history and a team trying to avoid making a mistake and failing horribly.
"Let's be honest, guys," said Miami's LeBron James after the game. "We're not sitting here and saying this is not something special. This is an unbelievable streak that we're on. We're playing great basketball. We're winning in different phases of the game, we're playing different styles, we've won every game, on the road, at home, double-overtime games, end-of-regulation games, whatever the case may be."
Miami moved to 48-14, 1.5 games ahead of San Antonio for the best record in the NBA. Atlanta is now 34-29, in second place in the Southeast Division - 14.5 games behind Miami. In the East, Atlanta is now tied with Boston for 6th/7th, but loses the tiebreaker based on head-to-head records. The Hawks are only 1.5 games ahead of 8th place Milwaukee.
Jeff Teague left the game in the third quarter with a sprained ankle. He got it taped and returned to Atlanta's bench, but did not return to the court with the outcome already determined.
It doesn't get any easier for Atlanta - despite being at home tonight, they get to host Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers (34-31). The Lakers have gone on a tear lately as well, and now hold the 8th spot in the West after a 106-97 win in Orlando last night.