Streaking Heat, Blackhawks pull for each other
by Erik Brady, Kevin Allen, Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Jakie Sandefer has a message for the Miami Heat and the Chicago Blackhawks: Enjoy your streaks now, because when they’re over, you’ll always think more about the loss that ended them than you will all those wins.
Sandefer, 76, is a retired oilman who was a halfback on the Oklahoma Sooners football teams that won 47 consecutive games straddling five seasons in the 1950s. He’ll tell you it was a great ride, but ask what he remembers most and he’ll tell about a bitter 7-0 loss to Notre Dame.
“Just remember that the only ones that never lose are the ones that never play,” he recalls coach Bud Wilkinson telling the vanquished Sooners.
“I have thought about that through the years,” Sandefer says. “If you don’t want to lose, don’t compete, because you are going to lose at some point.”
So true, and yet it seems an ethereal, faraway truth to teams in the midst of mind-bending, odds-defying win streaks — or, in hockey’s case, point streaks — of the kind that somehow seem as if they might never end, when a team of surpassing talent is hotter than heat, such as the Heat.
Miami has won 16 consecutive games, nearly halfway to the NBA record of 33. It’s the talk of the league, and much of the land, but not of their locker room. Just as a baseball team never speaks in the dugout of a no-hitter in progress, Heat players don’t talk about The Streak among themselves, though they’ll offer comment to the media, when asked.
For all of that, LeBron James will freely speak of others’ streaks. He scored on a driving left-handed layup in the closing seconds of Wednesday night’s 97-96 squeaker against the Orlando Magic. Afterward, James (@KingJames) and Blackhawks star Patrick Kane (@88PKane) tweeted at each other.
The Blackhawks also won in nail-biting fashion Wednesday, coming from behind to beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. They are 21-0-3, with all three overtime losses coming in shootouts.
They are riding a point streak of 24 consecutive games since opening day, halfway to the 48 games of this lockout-shortened NHL season. Is it really … [For more on Heat, Blackhawks pull for each other as streaks roll on, click here.]