HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Leave it up to one of our favorite coaches to remind us all of where we are right now.
Alvin Gentry‘s Phoenix Suns are as far removed from the direct light sizzling the Miami Heat these days as anyone can be. But after his Suns lit up the Lakers Sunday night for a jaw-dropping 22 makes from beyond the 3-point line (that’s one fewer made than the Lakers attempted) in an upset win over the two-time world champs, he reminded us all of the need for a little perspective, courtesy of Los Angeles Times Hall of Famer Mark Heisler:
“You guys kill me,” a laughing Gentry said after the game, incredulous at being asked about the Lakers’ attitude and defense.
“Like the season is over for them now? C’mon, give me a break. It’s one game!
“You guys going to analyze this team? Let’s see what happens at the end of June, OK?
“You guys kill me, though. It’s one game, We made 22 threes and we had to hold on to beat them. I think they’re OK, OK?”
Shouldn’t the same sort of perspective be applied to the early season start of other contenders, namely our friends in Miami? Many of you that have weighed in on the Heat around here in the past three weeks believe so, while plenty of others disagree.
Maybe you were one of the thousands that weighed in here on Facebook when our friends at the home office asked,”After starting the season 5-4 (they’re 6-4 now), the Miami Heat need to improve _____________ the most?”
The responses ranged from the typical …
Pat Riley needs to come down and take over this team. They look like they are coaching themselves out there. Word.
… to the interesting …
they don’t need to improve. they need to change. They can’t have lebron [sic] calling the shots. they need a Rando [sic] like the Original big three have to call the shots. If they want a ring, they need to give up their ideas of becoming a great player and begin their ideas of become a great team.
… to the mildly intriguing …
getting to their spots & taking the shot without trying to think about the flashy play & More mid-range shots..Everytime down it’s wade or Bron trying to create something going to the hole & when they can’t get that one is always @ the perimeter for a 3…ot going to work…Lebron needs to play his offense & let Miami fit nim instead of them trying to fit wade!~ Bosh, wade & the rest of the team will come in to play after that happens…..”The Ego’s”
.. to the downright bizarre …
i think miami need trade arroyo and jones and pittman and acquire steve nash and change the coach
Love ’em or hate ’em, one major difference between the two situations is that the Lakers have political capital the Heat can only dream about right now. Even with three straight trips to the NBA Finals on their resume, the Lakers aren’t dealing with the sort of expectations this Heat team is right now.
A couple of early season losses from a team we know is capable of wiping out most of the competition when it matters most doesn’t really bother us, not right now and not even late in the regular season. That’s a perk afforded a champion. And we still don’t know for sure that this Miami team, as currently assembled, is championship material right now.
We’re guilty of an intense rush to judgment around here as well. We went into hyper-analyze mode last week after those back-to-back losses to Utah and Boston.Maybe it was the way they lost to both teams, or maybe it was just us riding the wave of discontent that looked so good in the immediate aftermath. It’s tough to put a finger on it now, after we’ve had a few days to think about it all.
That said, we still agree that the Heat have plenty of issues to work out. As long as LeBron James has to explain himself and exactly what he meant two and three times after every loss, there is work to be done.
We certainly took notice when the good folks at TrueHoop highlighted the Heat’s dominance over weaker foes (six wins against teams with a combined 16-32 record as of late Saturday night) and their lack of anything close to dominance against the elite (four losses to teams with a combined 22-5 record during that same stretch).
Those who say “it’s just the first nine or 10 games, they don’t matter” are only half right. It is absolutely just the first nine or 10 games of a marathon 82-game regular season with a deep playoff run (perhaps) to follow. So heated reactions to anything that goes on before Thanksgiving is a bit much.
But these games do matter. Maybe not in the way you’re thinking. And certainly not within the context of who will or will not be there when the big trophy is handed out (go ahead and raise your hand if you’re not from Boston and you had the Celtics pegged as the Eastern Conference champs a year ago this time). We will look back at how it all began, though, and there will be clues at the end that someone picked up on.
What those clues are nobody knows. That’s why we’re all watching and reacting.
Because in the end it will always be about perspective, as Alvin Gentry was gracious enough to remind us last night.