HOW IS IT possible the Miami Heat has won 22 straight games? Of course, there are the Three Tenors: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the other guy. But in a move that hasn't drawn too much attention, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra often puts them on the floor with no one else.
That's right - for most of the game, the Heat plays 3-on-5; once in a while, Shane Battier comes in, but we'll get back to him later.
(How do I know all this? For $149, I bought NBA League Pass this season, which means that every NBA game comes into my shattered home every night, and I WATCH THEM ALL. It's the closest I'll ever get to becoming Michael Wilbon, unless he gets me membership into one of his country clubs.)
While we have a moment, let's compare the Heat's historic run against two other recently ballyhooed spells:
Wall Street is rigged; I'm not savvy enough to know how, but I'm just smart enough to know it is. I mean, corporate profits are soaring again, yet most of us are stumbling through the supermarket wondering, "A pound of bacon is $6.49? How did that happen?"
Meanwhile, with Tim Donaghy out of the league, we assume the Heat streak is an honest one.
Besides, the Dow has had four other 10-plus winning streaks. The most recent came in November 1996, coinciding with a 10-day presidential streak in which Bill Clinton winked at a White House intern.
Note: The New York Stock Exchange traded six days a week instead of five until May 1952, back when men were men and MLB hurlers threw 175 pitches a game and liked it.
(Column Intermission: Stephen Strasburg will be the Washington Nationals' Opening Day starter. As a precautionary measure, he will only throw out the ceremonial first pitch.)
Now, what the Blackhawks did is impressive: Starting the season earning a point in 24 consecutive games. But it loses a little luster when you consider the cockamamie NHL changed its rules in 1999, allowing teams to earn a point when they lose in overtime. Heck, in the NHL, you could lose every game you play - and still win your division!
See, where I come from - the nation's capital, home of the federal government and taxation without representation - you don't get rewarded for a defeat, unless you land a good lobbying job on K Street after you've been run out of Congress.
People - even LeBron - treated it like the Blackhawks were on a winning streak. Except that during their streak, they lost three times.
(Incidentally, using NHL math, I might argue I'm on a three-marriage points streak - sure, two of them ended in divorce, but I was "even" with my ex-wives through the first three months of each union.)