It was a dramatic and — thanks to the fans at the United Center — loud end in Chicago to the Heat’s 27-game winning streak on Wednesday night.
Here are the reactions from the players in the game as well as around the league.
“We had a moment. Just very fortunate, very humbled, blessed to be part of a team like this and a streak like that. It was one of the best this league has ever seen.”
“Teams make it tough on us, we make it tough on them. When you have two well coached teams that wanna win, it’s going to be a competitive game.”
“We were playing every game to win, we just happened to win 27 in a row. Our motto was to try and go out and win every game, but there’s nothing really to talk about.”
“The challenge is not to get caught up in the hoopla. To understand what goes into winning — stay focused, you’ve got to be prepared, you need an edge. If you get lost in all the other stuff you’re not going to be prepared to play well.”
“The way they play, you have to play with great intensity. You can’t win a world championship without playing like that. I think they understand that. That’s why when you look at what they’ve done — to be the defending world champions, to have a winning streak like that knowing that everyone is chasing you — is a credit to them.
(On how they defended LeBron James) “LeBron has great decision making ability and great vision. His size, he sees over things, I don’t think you can give him a steady diet of anything.”
(On Kirk Hinrich’s play ripping the ball from Bosh) “We’ve played them 15 times and more often than not comes down to that, exactly that — it’s a loose ball, it’s a hustle play, that’s usually the difference.”
“We understand, probably more so later on in our careers, the significance of that. And then that was it. We took that moment to acknowledge it, to acknowledge each other, that experience, but it was never about the streak. We have a bigger goal, but also right now, it’s about ‘Are we getting better?”
“We were much more competitive in the second half. It became make or miss in the fourth quarter, and we couldn’t get the necessary stops we needed to. In the last handful of games, those shots were going down and maybe that masked a few things going down the stretch.”
“Just our toughness. We came out ready to play from the jump, guarded, played together. It was a big win, it was a team win.
Jerry West (member of the 1972 Lakers team that won 33, speaking with Marc Stein of ESPN)
“I really thought they were going to do it,” West said by phone after the Heat lost to the Chicago Bulls 101-97. “I really did.
“It’s a remarkable streak. I wasn’t rooting against them at all. At halftime (of the Chicago game), I thought they were going to win the game. But all you need sometimes is a few things to go wrong.
“I think they’re looking for bigger fish to fry. You know they’re trying to win another championship, so I think this is just a blip in the road for them. But this (streak) was great for basketball. It was a great accomplishment. It creates incredible fan interest.
“People will talk about this forever.”