Lately, it seems like every Sunday afternoon we're getting a blockbuster showcase from the NBA. This Sunday afternoon? The Miami Heat head to Boston. With the Heat beginning to really flex their muscles, let's take a quick look back . . .
When they fell to the defending Eastern Conference Champs on opening night 80-88, we smirked. When they were an unimpressive 9-8 after 17 games, we chuckled. As the cracks became gaping, rumours began swirling, from the firing of head coach Eric Spoelstra to the possibility of trading prized free agent power forward Chris Bosh, we out and out started laughing. LeBron, Pat Riley, Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat, it was all blowing up, overreactions were spilling over everywhere. On November 27th in Dallas, the Miami Heat lost their eighth game and fourth in their last five. They'd been outscored in the third quarter against the Mavericks to the tune of 31-17. LeBron James had a forgettable night going just 5 of 19 from the floor, Miami turned the ball over 14 times, and their lack of interior size was exposed as Maverick center Tyson Chandler poured in 14 points while pulling down 17 boards. What happened to the team that was supposed to challenge Jordan's 72-win Chicago Bulls team of 95'-96'? Had LeBron & Wade orchestrated this all wrong? Did they leave themselves no outs? Had their contracts while fitting for their 'Big 3' made it impossible to add pieces that would win you a title? To the viewing public, Public Enemy #1 was getting what they had coming to them.
Spin that clock forward to February 13th, an hour before tip-off against those very same defending Eastern Conference Champs, the Miami Heat are absolutely not the team that opened looking very average. Opening just 9-8, LeBron James and the Heat have ripped off win streaks of twelve games, nine games, and have currently won their last eight. Since November the 27th, the Miami Heat that looked to be a gross miscalculation of talent, have transformed into a team that has gone 30-6 since that loss in Dallas. James and Wade are amongst the top five in scoring, the team is allowing just 94.1 ppg which is good for fifth in the league, and with a win in Boston this afternoon, guess who will be the frontrunners in the Eastern Conference? The Miami Heat. Watching his former team lose a record setting 28-straight, a season after winning 61-games with him, did you actually think the Heat would be dead in the water with LeBron James leading the way? Who is still laughing? The Heat are not only the most likely to dethrone the Boston Celtics, they're doing it with everyone who was laughing, now shaking. A banged up Celtics club, getting a Miami team coming in strong, you guess what will be front and center tomorrow morning? Believe it.