Heat Watching As Lakers’ Story Unfolds

DALLAS – The Miami Heat are the NBA’s resident experts on manufactured super teams, and don’t think they’re not watching the latest model to this point wheezing along on the West Coast.

“You can’t do nothing but watch it,” Dwyane Wade said of the struggling Los Angeles Lakers. “It’s everywhere.”

Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined forces in Miami during the summer of 2010 and uniquely understand the expectations and pressures currently weighing heavily on Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and the soon-to-return Steve Nash.

It’s a group that didn’t come together through prearranged handshakes like the Heat’s Big Three, but rather through an opportunistic Lakers front office that flipped assets into an awesome collection of talent that many instantly predicted would return the Lakers to the Finals and challenge the Heat for league supremacy.

However, this Hollywood script has spilled over with unforeseen drama — injuries, a messy coaching change and even now with confusion and back-and-forth rhetoric over roles in Mike D’Antoni’s newly implemented system.

Although not a facsimile of Miami’s initial struggles as a super power on paper, the Heat can relate to the enormous external pressures.

“It’s different in a sense,” LeBron said. “They’re struggling not being whole, they’re not whole. Nash hasn’t played. Gasol has had tendinitis and they’ve had what, three coaches now in what, 22 games? So they’re situation is different. Ours was coming together, the first time we’d all been together and now just throw us on the floor and try to figure it out on the fly.

“We struggled. We were 9-8 when we came in here [to Dallas] and lost that game, but the month of December, I think we ran off like 20 of 22 from December to January, and that’s what kind of propelled our season from that point.”

The Heat ultimately turned the season into a trip to the Finals, a disappointing six-game defeat to Dallas that would further challenge LeBron and fuel their title run in Year 2.

The question everyone is asking and no one has the answer to is if the Lakers, at 12-14 and lacking any sense of continuity or purpose, can pull it together in time to make a serious run in Year 1?

“It takes time, that’s all I can say, it takes time,” LeBron said. “I don’t care what type of talent you have, it takes time. It takes time and we’ll see what happens. I’m not one to say what they’re going to do. I don’t really care too much about what they do, but that’s my opinion: It takes time to build a team.”

The Heat’s 110-95 dismantling of the Mavs Thursday night did rekindle memories of Miami’s Nov. 27, 2010 trip to Dallas and its shaky infancy as a super team. Frustration ran afoul. Players slammed the locker room doors shut after the 106-95 loss and kept them that way for a half-hour.

James’ scrutinized shoulder-bump into coach Erik Spoelstra as he marched to the bench for a timeout added another layer of drama to be dissected on talk radio and TV shows, fueling speculation that the young coach would soon suffer the fate of Stan Van Gundy in 2006 and be replaced by team president Pat Riley.

It never happened. Riley propped up his hand-picked successor, sensing what Spoelstra said on Thursday, that despite the early losses and particularly the disappointing no-show in Dallas, he was seeing the Heat actually coming together.

“We had that game here where it was a very disappointing loss, but even at that point you could see with our guys that they had the right mentality of, ‘Let’s just fix it, let’s not get caught up in the drama,'” Spoelstra said. “I remember distinctly what that Monday shootaround was like before the Washington game; guys came in just with a clear mind to try to fix it.”

Because their union was preconceived, the Big Three’s early struggles strengthened their determination not to splinter just as a large segment of the public wished failure upon them.

“We were taking a lot of beatings on the outside, but on the inside we stuck together,” Wade said. “There was no pointing fingers and we worked hard every day to get ourselves out of the mud.”

The Lakers are an intriguing mix of personality and ego coming together for the first time. Immersed in adversity from the get-go, it is a mix that so far has seemingly remained non-toxic. And Nash’s long-awaited return — targeted for Christmas Day at home against the New York Knicks — the Lakers believe, will help establish harmony for Gasol and others as they learn from the one-and-only Zen-master of D’Antoni’s system.

Whether it means the Lakers can turn this lump of coal into a season of celebration will be the story the entire basketball world will be watching, including the Heat.

“That team, you know once they figure it out they’re going to be a team to be reckoned with,” Wade said. “You got a bunch of veteran guys over there and it just takes one win, it takes them playing together and understanding it’s going to take a while.

“Everyone wants it to happen now, but if they want it, then it will turn around for them.”

36 Comments

  1. Goku says:

    Lakers = first round exit

    saddddddd but true

  2. Celts will be biggest threat for the title again!!! For u opposing fans, come playoffs pay close attention to refs & be objective & we’ll see Celts will be getting most unfavorable called games. been going on since after “08. heat got reffed strait to the finals last year, even in series when they may have not needed it-worst was Boston & more worse w/ OK City. “COMON MAN”. Let fair play win the ring!!! Celts”13-BANNER18 :)

  3. Mayan Calendar Fail says:

    @QQ

    I’m not saying that give the ball to dwight!!! Lakers should distribute the ball equally… Since the laker fans claiming that lakers was a super team… Did I hear it right super TEAM??? (not super kobe) granted that they are a super something, I guess they won’t be having problems distributing the ball for everybody inside the court… lakers organization is a team… again it’s Los Angeles Lakers not Los Angeles Bryant… For the record IT’S Metta who help them grab those 3 wins… not kobe… But that’s only my opinion… And I don’t really care what the lakers do,they won’t make it to the playoffs… MIA,,OKC ,NYK, LAC, SAS, MEM,(ATL,CHI)… title contenders sorry no lakers……..

  4. jmndodge says:

    Lakers will be there when it counts. Kobe – Howard – Nash will be learn to play together – Gasol will get past his knee problems, and world peace will play adequately. There is enough bench strength to fill in when needed – and coaching and player talent will come together. The difficulty is that Nash – Gasol – Kobe – are all reaching their declining years, as is Howard with his back and world peace. For the Lakers to make a run it will require playing these aging super stars long minutes, and younger talent will hardly have the opportunity to develop. Trading the contracts — and/or drafting players ready to contribute is going to be increasingly difficult. Lakers need to move someone major each of the next several seasons to stay in contention. Bynum has been hurt -still I can’t help thinking he would have been a better anchor for their future, and a couple talented younger guards better than Nash the superstar.

  5. ya man says:

    Hea are gonna win this ,no matter what lakers do

  6. I'M YOUR DADDY!!! says:

    Coach Brown is laughing all the way to the bank!!!! Both him and PJax know the Lakers are a joke!!!!!

  7. sally says:

    I don’t know why you people think that you can re-vamp a team and think they are going to come out and make wonderful things happen on the floor. It just does not happen like that, it will take at least a season to get used to one another as well as getting used to what the coach wants. Mike D’antoni is an excellent coach and will do fine with them if they want to win. You P-Jackson fans think he is the answer…..get over it. He isn’t and he wouldn’t if they offered it up. He wants too many extras that they are not going to put up with, that’s why they left him in the dust. If you think he would be a quick fix for them, he might be but it would not be in a season, maybe 2, if that…maybe not. Kobe is a player….he does not make decisions for the team and never will, as much as he thinks he does and likes to make people think he does …. he doesn’t . If he wants more jewelry he is going to have to play another season and I don’t think he’s got it in him. I am not a Laker fan but I like to watch them and for them to win they have a long way to go so give up the thoughts of them winning a championship this year…it aint going to happen.

  8. Hungary says:

    “they’re situation” ??? really Jeff Caplan, really??? how can anybody let this guy publish anything

  9. GOOD IDEA says:

    Should have hired Fisher as Coach..

  10. trevorjoseph says:

    “They’re situation is different.” niiice.

  11. trevorjoseph says:

    “They’re situation is different.” Grammar.

  12. hey! says:

    it would have been sick if mike d`antoni coach the clippers..

  13. & PLEASE, whether media or other teams, get some original nicknames & stop calling yourselves a big 3- :) – ONLY IN BOSTON BABY!! Also u gotta admit Celts brung back the fun team, we style of play instead of one superstar above everybody else!! GREENMACHINE 2013CHAMPS!! :)

  14. Celts did it best & in only one year with age & coach!!!! take some tips from that example since Celts are really the ones to first start the multiple hall of famers on one team trend in this decade!!! get it correct heat, yall didn’t start that. since 2008 season, all teams trying to emulate Celts. well it’s been that way for 60+ years!! :)

  15. Dr. O'Neal says:

    they have to stick with that interim one.. look at the Knicks now fellas.

  16. Al says:

    Mike D is not right fit to the lakers. I dont think he could bring the Laklers team to playoff. His system will not work with the roster that he have with the lakers today. If P-Jax was the one who replaced Mike B, there is a big chance that he can bring the Lakers as an elite tem to go to the finals. I dont think the Lakers roster likes Mike D system. He is not a good coach for the Lakers.

    • pej says:

      Running a team expensive business. In Nash, Gasol, Howard and Kobe the budget is almost eaten up and then the salary cap too is a factor. Bench players are key to win games. But Lakers’ bench don’t have enough talent to complement the big Four! If I were Phil, I won’t tarnish my image by coaching the present team. At least Two to Three players from the bench must be reliable ones to keep Lakers in winner column.

  17. Mayan Calendar Fail says:

    “We were taking a lot of beatings on the outside, but on the inside we stuck together,” Wade said. “There was no pointing fingers and we worked hard every day to get ourselves out of the mud.”

    That’s what kobe should do…… Accept the fact that He is no longer the Lakers best player….. Work with the team to win Not for the STATS…. Just like DWADE…. He gives way for LBJ……

    Let’s Go HEAT!!!!

    • QQ says:

      so who do you want kobe to give the ball to? dwight? im pretty sure he gets it enough.

      • Goku says:

        yeah how about dwight gets more than 8 shots to start with…. Last game LA won but Dwight had like 9 points on 8 attempts.

        Dwight needs the ball more….

        Dwight is still a baby tho, Man i wish he would just get angry more

      • All City says:

        Only thing about D12 is he’s battling K24 for the most turnovers each game. D12 getting 8-10 touches and commits 3-6 turnovers is not a good ratio! The source of his turnovers is when he post up outside the paint and puts the ball on the floors trying to attack and usually ends up getting stripped!

  18. Bok says:

    P-Jax can, but not D’Antoni. Or D’Antoni can, but only if the bench produce on a consistent basis, the vets can manage their conditioning to avoid injuries, and if they all play with a sense of urgency, not just a bunch of washed out vets. If they only manage to keep Shannon Brown, Lamar Odom, Ramon Sessions it would have been easier for them.

  19. Go NETS!! says:

    Mike D is one of the luckiest coach in the world right. He knows that the Lakers cant afford to change coach again until his contract is over. So the only thing the Lakers can do now is improving the bench, which makes his job much easier. Either that, or they’ll have to suffer losses and even losing Dwight. I’m not suggesting getting Phil back bc I already said Phil won’t coach for the same Lakers ownership again after what they did to him. Athough it would be a hell of a record for any coach to break if Phil comes back and win a few more titles. His records will last for decades after he leaves the bball world and the real world..

  20. John says:

    Theres a long way to go in this season. They’ve got time to get it right, and once they do, look out.

    • LAKERS B says:

      just play well and be focused, i noticed DW not yet seriously giving it all. wait for awhile and and you see lakers will come out champion again and again and again….

  21. Bird33 says:

    Or perhaps bring back Phil? Sorry Jim Buss – you’re going to have to eat crow on the D’Antoni hiring….you should have consulted your star player for his advice……that’s why you’re not your father – Dr. Buss wouldn’t have screwed this up this bad. Sorry Jimmy, boy….I gotta tell it like it is

    • TrueNBAFan says:

      Lol you’re funny, thinking any coach could heal the Laker’s woes. Phil can’t grow a bench, nor can he make Artest a viable starter. I bet Phil is laughing, happy he didn’t get stuck with this Laker team.

      • DocktorK says:

        I’m sure he would know what to do cause most of the time he just put guy in situation to succeed not over coach them. The players have the burden of making it happen and communicate and see each other on the floor.

      • Dommy says:

        MWP is the second best player on this team atm, hes playing a good bench role.. like smith does for the knicks, MWP still getting starter minutes and is playing some of the best ball ive seen in awhile

    • LakersWillWin says:

      They chose D’Antoni over Phil because we already had Nash. THe Triangle would have completely taken away from Nash’s ball handling abilitles (look at the Princeton)… D’Antoni’s system has helped our bench a lot. Jodie Meeks is starting to shine from both ends of the floors. Duhon SHOULD be our back up PG when Nash is healthy, and he is playing well himself. Consistency is key.

  22. Bird33 says:

    Maybe they need a new coach – I hear SVG is available….sorry Dwight (you big baby!!!)

  23. mike says:

    can it be fixed before father time catches up to 5 -6 players, bryant, nash, MWP, gasol, blake and jamison???

    • Go NETS!! says:

      no it’s cannot be fixed. It’s hard to change something that you’ve been doing for many meany season and have been known to be good at. I’ve said it all along, It’s not the players. It’s the coach. The players are old and have been known be good at what they’re doing. Now a new coach come in and want them to change it to fit in a system. The a new system has to be developed to fit the skill sets the the players provide, not the other way around. They’re not younger players, so it’s harder to change. Even though they have high bball IQ, the coach sill has to figure out how to use their skill set and a certain position, USE THEIR STRENGTH. Asking Gasol to play something he’s not prefer to is like telling him to maximize his weakness. Kobe says he adjusts but he’s not. He’s still a scorer like he has always been, he doesn’t want to adjust to a PG position. DH keeps pointing the finger with expectation of help. You cant expect ppl to read you especially if they never played with you. Just know that cover your man before going for the block. My point is, no one is adjusting even though they re saying theyre trying to play together. The coaching staff already know the skill sets available, now they gotta firgure out how to play chess. Remember, you can’t change the rules of movements in a chess game, you just gotta use them wisely and win games.

    • OlderNWiser says:

      NO IT CAN’T BE FIXED. KOBE’S EGO IS TOO BIG AND THEY’RE ALL TOO OLD, SOMEONE’LL GET HURT, AND THEY WILL TAKE TURNS GETTING INJURED…GO MIAMI ! ! !