MIAMI — It might still seem unrealistic to talk about Miami Heat playoff possibilities.
History says otherwise.
Goran Dragic scored 20 points, Dion Waiters added 19 and the Heat pushed the NBA’s longest current winning streak to eight games by beating the woebegone Brooklyn Nets 104-96 on Monday night. The streak is the fourth-longest in the league so far this season, topped only by Golden State (12 games), Houston (10) and San Antonio (9).
“Stay humble. Stay hungry. Continue to keep working,” Waiters said. “Get better day by day. Keep putting in the work and you see results … and along the way have fun, just enjoy it.”
Miami (19-30) occupies 12th place in the Eastern Conference, 4 1/2 games from the eighth and final playoff spot. But out of the last 80 teams that had winning streaks of at least eight games, 77 went on to make the playoffs — with New York in 2013-14, Portland in 2007-08 and Orlando in 2005-06 being the exceptions.
“We’re not looking at standings right now,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’re concentrating on us.”
James Johnson had 17, Rodney McGruder scored 13 and Hassan Whiteside added 12 for Miami. Waiters and Dragic combined to hand out 17 assists for the Heat, who took the lead for good with a 17-0 run late in the first half.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 16 points for Brooklyn (9-39), which has lost six straight and 17 of its last 18. The Nets blew an 18-point lead at home against Miami last week, and had an 11-point lead late in the first half of this one.
Brook Lopez scored 14, while Trevor Booker and Isaiah Whitehead each had 13 for the Nets.
“We were physical,” Lopez said. “I thought there were a lot of positives out there.”
Miami outscored Brooklyn 33-12 from 3-point range.
“Give them credit,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “They’re on a good roll.”