Could Miami sneak up and win the NBA crown?

miami_heatIt’s been quite a rollercoaster ride for the Miami Heat this year. LeBron James’ “Decision” to come to Miami went way too noticed, and led to a feeling that the season started early. The anticipation of seeing what the newly assembled super team could accomplish set the stage for the rollercoaster’s initial drop.

Of course as soon as the team experienced a streak of consecutive losses, panic, jeers, and debates were once again set off. It only took the team losing three games in a row in November to do that—this new age of media is really something else.

NBA fans know that the NBA is a game of positive and negative runs. Most who play basketball know that sometimes the ball goes in, and sometimes “it just don’t go”. Sometimes your chemistry is on and the ball is rolling off your fingers real smooth like. I imagine that the chemistry with a full team of players is much the same, just with many more variables.

On the more crude side of generally analyzing the ups and downs of basketball, one could say that it’s as simple as putting the ball in the hoop more than the other team, and hustling on defense; with a strong focus on the hustling defense (another note for the youngsters).

It was strange seeing the chemistry of the Miami Heat early in the year. James and Dewayne Wade both being great with the ball in their hands put the expected vacuum effect on the teams ball movement. Either player sucked up the ball, but neither seemed to “suck it up” and pass the ball when game situations were more tense. All three of the “Big 3” (Wade, James, and Chris Bosh) did a poor job of sucking in their hurt feelings in the media too—it seemed because they felt like people didn’t like them, or want them to win. Someone should do a video montage of the Heat’s press conferences this year, and put it to the music of Ralph Tresvant’s 90’s song Sensitivity. Even Heat coach Eric Spoelstra got in the act by telling the world (true or not) that players were in the locker room crying; after a regular season game. That gets a, “Hmm?” on so many levels.

My personal feeling from the start about the Heat was that I didn’t think their high-wire act would play out in the playoffs, when teams actually play defense. But it has; though perhaps that’s because they haven’t faced any seemingly top-notch defenses just yet.

As far as the Heat’s defense. Wade and James are great defenders, Bosh is long, and everybody else on the Heat is at least there to fill space. So though the chemistry still looks odd on defense as well, the Heat has been steadily getting the fundamentals of basketball strategy accomplished: score more baskets than the other team, and hustle on defense.

The fact that the Heats’ expectations were promoted as something like “The Greatest Roller Coaster of All-Time”, have dampened the hype that could have come from the loooong winning streaks they had this year, versus the roughly four losing streaks they experienced. The longest losing streak came around the mid-season All-Star break, which is not a new phenomenon as the players minds wander to their version of recess. But there weren’t any losing streaks coming into the playoffs for the Heat. And so their train is virtually on track.

A rollercoaster is a rollercoaster. And though the chemistry of the Miami Heat seems a little odd, the super-talented team is where they should be; though it doesn’t come off as the greatest version of basketball ever. Basketball is basketball and the Heat has a ton of talent. President Obama’s first term doesn’t seem like a new version of existence—though many seemingly thought his CHANGE meant life would suddenly become something new.  America is America, and the President is making successful changes all over the place. The rollercoaster comes back to port, but most of the talk is about the drops, not the climbs. Maybe it isn’t just the media.

Whether the Heat win the whole thing may likely fall to expectations too. At some point in time somebody has to play some good defense. As for me, the Lakers exited the playoffs unglamorously, so I’m going fishing. I should have expected that after Lamar Odom went the reality TV route with his Kardashian wife. A Bell Biv Devoe song comes to mind.

May 16, 2011
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