The longest winning streak in the NBA this season is 11 games. Both the Spurs and Trail Blazers went to 11 early in the season, and coincidentally both streaks ended on the same night back in late November. By March 12th last season, the Los Angeles Clippers had been on their 17 game winning streak, the Thunder had won a dozen straight, and the Heat were on win 18 of a streak that eventually ran to 27. Oh, and the Nuggets were nine games into a 15 gamer of their own.
If the league has been a bit less streaky so far, that may be about to change. The Clippers and Spurs have won eight and seven consecutive games respectively, the longest active streaks in the league, and each team has a favorable upcoming schedule that could easily accommodate a string of wins into the teens.
Tonight is key for both teams. The Clippers host the 41-24 Golden State Warriors while the Spurs are at home against the 42-22 Blazers, and that's the last time either the Clippers or the Spurs play a team with a winning record for some time. After tonight, the Spurs play four straight games against the three worst teams in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, if the Clippers can keep their streak alive against the Warriors, they have six subsequent games against below .500 teams.
So if both of these top Western Conference teams win tonight, get ready for a week or so of "Who is the hottest team in the West?" stories as their winning streaks grow. Sadly, that soft Spurs schedule almost certainly means that the first overall seed in the West is out of reach for the Clippers, no matter how hot they are the rest of the way. Instead, it just may be setting up an eventual showdown in the WC Finals between the two.
But that's of course getting way ahead of ourselves. The Clippers first need to take care of the Warriors tonight.