Are the Heat on the verge of becoming one of the greatest teams of all time?

Let me preface this by saying this; the Heat still have six wins left to get, and if they don't get them, this entire article goes up in smoke. I know that, but I still think it's time for us to discuss what Miami is doing.

On February 1st, the Heat got blown out by the Pacers in Indiana, falling to 29-14 on the season. It was Miami's 2nd loss in 3 games (the other being the epic double overtime loss to the Celtics on the day Rajon Rondo's ACL tear was announced). The loss also dropped the Heat into a tie with the Knicks for first place in the Eastern Conference, and put them 5.5 games behind the Spurs for the best record in basketball. The defending champs weren't exactly in terrible shape, but they were giving no signs that they were about to embark on one of the greatest runs in NBA history.

Since the loss to the Pacers, the Heat have played 51 games, and won 47 of them. By the time the sun set on the regular season, Miami had won the East by a staggering 12 games over New York, and finished 6 games ahead of Oklahoma City (and 8 ahead of San Antonio) for the best record in the NBA.

Putting the stretch in comparison, the 1995-96 Bulls, considered by many to be the best team of all time, never went 47-4 over any stretch of 51 games during their record breaking 72 win season. Of course, Miami's start also needs to be factored in, but should we start realistically asking whether or not this years Heat are one of the greatest teams of all time?

For whatever reason it took until February for the Heat to kick it into high gear, but since then they have put up the following incredible numbers.

- 47-4 record (I feel like this needs to be said again)
- 23-1 on the road (including 5-0 in the playoffs by an average of 15 points per game)
- 24-3 at home
- 26-4 against playoff teams
- 21-0 against non-playoff teams
- They've outscored their opponents by 10.49 points per game
- 32 wins by 10+ points
- 1 loss by 10+ points

Again, we're comparing a 51 game stretch to an entire body of work by teams like the '96 Bulls (72 wins), '97 Bulls (69 wins), '72 Lakers (69 wins), '67 Sixers (68 wins), '86 Celtics (67 wins), '92 Bulls (67 wins) and 2000 Lakers (67 wins) who all won more games than the Heat (66) while capturing a championship as well, but it appears Miami has at least thrown their hat into the ring.

Of course, whether or not the Heat end up going down in the annals of history for their greatness or not, they already have captured another title: The most hated team of all time.

29 fan bases hate Miami with the passion of 1,000 suns. LeBron James is despised by many fans despite his unquestionable greatness because of the way he left Cleveland and took what many believe to be the "easy way out" joining forces with Dwyane Wade.

And then there's Wade himself, who's reputation for being one of the dirtiest players in the league is well deserved. As we have seen over, and over, and over, and over again, the man repeatedly tries to hurt other players on the court.
Wade is the dirtiest player in the league, and it's not even close

And finally there is Chris Bosh, who has become more of a running joke than anything else, with everyone from Lil Wayne to Shaq getting in on the fun. The Bostrich is as good a 3rd option as any player in the league, but people spend more time making absurdly mean (and many times hilarious) memes focusing on the guy rather than talking about his play.

As strong as the hatred towards the Heat is ("F*ck the Heat" was trending on twitter last night..while the Heat were enjoying an off day), it only seems to get stronger by the day. Every time they win a game, the hatred grows as it seems like the win is almost always accompanied by a smug comment from James, a dirty play from Wade, or a weird face by Bosh. Miami is the NBA's villain, and it's a title they have absolutely earned.

However if they are able to get six more wins, the most hated team in the league will have made a pretty convincing argument that they are one of the greatest teams in league history. Maybe not quite on the level with MJ's best Bulls teams, but in the same area code. So for all of the Heat haters out there, hate harder over the next few weeks. Because like it or not, Miami is six wins away from history, and perhaps worse, a potential dynasty.

What do you guys think? Is Miami a top 10 team ever if they win it all this year? Top 5? Does their success make you sick? Leave it in the comments section.

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