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Are winning streaks in sports a measure of skill or just luck?

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LeBron James #6 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat look on during the game against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Arena on March 6, 2013 in Miami, Florida.
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
LeBron James #6 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat look on during the game against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Arena on March 6, 2013 in Miami, Florida.

The Miami Heat are on an 18-game winning streak, the 7th longest streak in NBA history. Granted, the team does have one of the best players on the planet, Lebron James, and he's been having an exceptionally good season. But is a streak like this a measure of how good a team is, or just good old fashioned luck?

The Miami Heat are on an 18-game winning streak, the 7th longest streak in NBA history. Granted, the team does have one of the best players on the planet, Lebron James, and he's been having an exceptionally good season.

But is a streak like this a measure of how good a team is, or just good old fashioned luck? 

Here to help us answer that is Alan Reifman, professor at Texas Tech and the author of "Hot Hand: The Statistics Behind the Greatest Sports Streaks."

              

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