Last night the Chicago Bulls brought the Miami Heat's epic winning streak to an end. Miami had racked up 27 wins in a row, but the 28th was not to be.
Those 27 wins give the Heat the second longest winning streak record in NBA history, and makes them the first team to catch fire like that in 41 years. The only team out ahead of them is the LA Lakers, who won 33 straight games in the 1971-'72 season.
There was a lot of hype going into the game last night, with a huge divide between people who thought the Heat were unstoppable, and those who thought that the Bulls had just what it takes to end the streak.
Looking at the Bulls before the game, you could be forgiven for thinking that they had their work cut out for them. They were missing Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Richard Hamilton and Marco Belinelli, and going up against LeBron James; undoubtedly the best player in the league this year.
In order to take control of things, the Bulls turned up the physicality of their game, and led by defending well, and using their internal size to their advantage. There's been a lot of talk this season about the fact that Miami doesn't have a lot of height or depth to the team. With the way Miami play against most teams in the league, you would never think that there were pieces of the puzzle missing, but when you put the Heat up against a team like the Bulls, the gaps become more obvious.
For anyone watching the game last night, it was a bit of a hell raiser. The entire game was marked by very physical plays, some that LeBron later commented on as not being basketball plays.
“Those are not basketball plays. It’s been happening all year and I’ve been able to keep my cool. But it is getting to me a little bit.”
The main examples that will keep coming up are the first quarter foul, when Bulls PG, Kirk Hinrich, grabbed LeBron like some kind of wild beast, and wrestled him to the ground. Then there was a foul in the 4th by Taj Gibson, which put James on the floor after a two-handed swipe.
Tensions were at a high, Gibson didn't get called for a flagrant foul, and LeBron felt robbed, especially just moments later when LeBron himself was called for a flagrant foul after driving his shoulder into a screen set by Carlos Boozer.
"I know that a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays," James said after the game. "First of all, Kirk Hinrich basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground. Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground. Those are not basketball plays – and it's been happening all year....I've been able to keep my cool and try to tell [Erik Spoelstra], 'Let's not worry about it too much.' But it's getting to me a little bit. Because every time I try to defend myself, I've got to face the consequences of a flagrant for me or a technical foul."
Check out some of the video footage yourself, and see what you think of the game. Either way, the #HEATSTREAK is over.