The Miami Heat are looking for win number 28 to increase their chances to break the historic record of 33 consecutive games made by the Los Angeles Lakers. Wednesday night the Heat will take on the tough Chicago Bulls at 8 p.m. ET.
The Bulls (38-31) still don't have injured point guard Derrick Rose back in the lineup and have lost 13 of their last 22 games. Still, the Heat expect a playoff-type, rough-and-tumble meeting.
"Our historic run is about winning championships," Heat star LeBron James said. "That's what we want to be known for. It's part of a process. Whatever comes in between that, we can be excited about it. We didn't have a goal in mind to say, 'Let's go on a long consecutive win streak,' but our goal is to win every game when we are on the floor."
In recent days, that hasn't been easy. Boston had the Heat down by 17 early and 13 in the fourth quarter. Cleveland put Miami in a 27-point hole, and against Detroit and Charlotte, the Heat trailed by 11 before pulling away. On Monday night, the Orlando Magic and Heat were tied late in the third quarter before James keyed a 20-2 run that changed everything.
"We like knowing we have that switch," guard Dwyane Wade said. "We just don't want to use it too much."
Chicago has already beaten the Heat once this season, on Miami's home floor. On Friday, the Heat head to New Orleans, where the Hornets just snapped Denver's 15-game winning streak. And Sunday's game at San Antonio is against not only the Western Conference leader and potential NBA Finals opponent, but also likely will have huge implications for the No. 1 overall playoff seed.
Whether the opponent is a playoff team like Chicago or a lottery-bound club, James said the approach has been steady.
"It has been tough all year," he said. "It hasn't been easy for us at all. Every team has given us their best. We know that Chicago is going to be a tough game for us, and playing in that building. We want to come out with our game plan ... and give ourselves a chance to win."
The Bulls are percentage points ahead of the Atlanta Hawks for fifth place in the East and 2 1/2 games behind Brooklyn for fourth, which carries home-court advantage for the first round. As a result, they are thinking more about helping themselves than being the team that ends Miami's historic run.
"It would be great to be the team that beats them, but at the same time we can't think about that," center Nazr Mohammed told the team's official website. "We're a team that's trying to grind out some wins and this is one that we need. ... We just want to go out and get this victory."