The Miami Heat will look to continue their impressive winning streak and increase it to 26 consecutive games when they host the visiting Washington Wizards Sunday evening at 6 p.m. ET.
Even as they move closer to the NBA-record winning streak of 33 straight established by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971-72, the bigger concern in the Heat locker room is that they are nowhere near a playoff gear with just 14 games remaining before the postseason arrives. They've trailed after five of their past six opening quarters, been losing at halftime in three straight outings and have been outshot in three of their last six contests.
The next opportunity to fix some of those issues comes Sunday at home against NBA-worst Charlotte (16-53), which is 38 1/2 games behind the Heat (54-14) in the East standings.
"It's on the radar, no question about it," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We need to put together complete games. That's three games in a row where we haven't gotten off to that energetic start that we're looking for. We'll have an opportunity to get back to it on Sunday. No excuses. We're not making excuses for ourselves, the schedule or anything. Just more consistency."
The latest close call wasn't exactly all that close. Miami trailed Detroit by 11 points on Friday night before clamping down in the second half and pulling away for a 103-89 win, with LeBron James finishing with 29 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.
"We never expect anything to be easy," James said.