The Miami Heat had lost 7 of their last 11 games going in to Monday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. While the Heat won 93-91 in Miami, it was certainly not without drama. Miami watched a 12 point lead evaporate over the final five minutes as Portland tied the game with just over 30 seconds left. LeBron James gave the Heat the lead with a driving basket, while Chris Bosh blocked a potential game-tying layup at the other end. Bosh and the Heat rightly celebrated, but should they be worried as the playoffs loom. Damn right they should be worried.
Going to three straight NBA Finals, and winning the last two titles is an impressive feat, but it does come at a cost. At times the Heat seem to lack passion, hunger, and almost seem apathetic about the result. These are the times that feed the LeBron will never be better than Michael debate. And for good reason. James has been held to the Jordan standard since he was in high school and while it’s not necessarily fair, it’s a fact of life. In addition there are skeptics, including myself, that wonder if Bron could have finally shed the label of underachiever/non-champion without joining forces with Dwyane Wade. Even with all of his excellent play and MVP’s, there are doubters, and when Miami struggles it is LeBron who takes the hit. He has played far below his own standards since scoring 61 points against the Bobcats, shooting under 40% and scoring over 30 points only twice in eleven games.
So here come the playoffs. The Heat are pretty much locked-in to the #2 seed as they have been almost all year. Yet, they looked tired. Coach Eric Spoelstra has monitored Wade’s minutes all season, but it is some of the other guys who look either spent or bored. Maybe both. Is Miami concerned. Certainly. Bosh, James, and Wade are all big-time players who have been through this before. Add in guys like Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem, and Shane Battier, and there is not a more battle-tested team in the NBA. Yet, right now they look vulnerable. Of course, that makes them more dangerous than ever.
About the Author
Written by Sean Eckhardt
Univ of Alabama alumni. Born and raised outside Chicago, IL. Currently live in Florida. Some of my favorite teams include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. My interests outside of sports include music, outdoor activities, and anything with a motor(cars, bikes, boats, etc...).