Thursday, January 20, 2011

Miami Heat

The Miami Heat may be the one reason to ever watch the NBA regular season, but it seems they haven't quite hit that portion of dominance that would make them enthralling throughout the year as of yet. While they did win 23 of 24 games they've now gone on a 4 game losing streak to halt any vague chance at beating the Bulls' 72-10 record. Injuries have mostly caused this; if you look at this you can see that they are possibly the most top heavy team in league history. Lebron and Wade are both in the top 6 in scoring in the league and Bosh is doing relatively well, slightly off his career stats but not by much; the entire rest of the team is doing terrible. With an admittedly unlikely surge in scoring Lebron or Wade could feasibly win the scoring title.

If they stayed healthy the whole year and played like they had been playing for a month and a half since the Akron Hates You chant inspired Lebron to be more productive then maybe they could beat the 72 wins, but that's more for next season than this one. The main question is how well can they do in the playoffs. Mike van Gundy was the most prominent figure to suggest that they would win 72 games this season which is supposedly a conspired action with his brother to take the pressure off the Orlando Magic. However the Magic have sucked while the Heat were successful, and while the Heat sucked at the start of the season they seem to have come up with a decent strategy for winning regular season games.

Simmons and numerous others expect them to fail in the postseason since "the game slows down" there. However I don't necessarily think this is a limiting factor in and of itself, it could be possible to speed up the pace of the game. Phoenix under D'Antoni may not have been all that successful in the Postseason but they were still able to speed up the pace of the game to their level, they simply had an inferior team. Once Miami finds at least some halfway decent depth than I believe they can easily run the court in the postseason provided they keep every early series short by dominating. The biggest knock against the Heat's potential success this season (pretty much everyone expects them to win at least a few titles in the years to come) is the two early losses to Boston, which I did actually watch!

Even when watching the Heat in the regular season I was still struck by the general apathy of either team prior to the 4th Quarter (or the 3rd in Lebron's case), Lebron will go nuts at some point in most games and then Wade comes in to close it out. While Lebron still hasn't found the triple double every day Oscar Robertson numbers he still facilitates his teammates a fair amount. Those teammates just happen to suck. Lebron and Wade do not play well on the court together, though they may eventually, this is probably what kills them in the Postseason more than the pace of the game. Athleticism, whatever that means, is very much an asset in the Postseason, while it isn't quite as much of advantage as size, it can still lead to games tiring out the other side. Even though Miami has no depth they can still manage to outplay the other side at their premium positions. Bosh is extremely consistent regardless of who defends him, while he isn't Dwight Howard I don't think people expected him to be.

The most humorous thing to note about the Heat apart from the inventive Cleveland chants is the way everyone was ready to crucify Spoelstra when they were 9-8, a week ago they were 30-9 and now everyone says he's the Coach of the Year. Coaches tend to get too much of the credit and blame in pretty much every sport, but this is hilariously stupid. Fire Spoelstra, we want Riley! Oh wait takes a few weeks for the team to get used to playing together, stunning, perhaps now that Spoelstra has a ridiculously talented top 3 tandem we should just hand him Coach of the Year on a silver platter. Hopefully the Heat do well in the future simply to make the league more interesting, watching Celtics-Lakers every damn year is none too riveting for people that don't hate women non fans. I don't have a compulsive hatred for the Heat, I'd just like to see some entertaining basketball in the playoffs.

Expected Record: 63-19
Expected Postseason Finish: Lost in Conference Finals to Boston Celtics

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