Heat Still Hunting Worthy Adversaries



.

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – This is the Miami Heat team general managers around the NBA hoped they’d never see.

LeBron James at the zenith of his basketball powers, Dwyane Wade doing his best to match LeBron play for jaw-dropping play and Chris Bosh ready at all times to take advantage of the attention being paid to those superstars. The supporting cast, led by Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier, Ray Allen and others appear to be settled in and braced for whatever comes their way between now and The Finals.

Sure, we’re still two months away from the end of the regular season. And anything can happen between now and The Finals. But you’re lying to yourself if you don’t admit that the Heat look like a team without a true equal in this league right now. Everyone else, even the mightiest of the mighty from the Western Conference, seem to be playing for second place.

The San Antonio Spurs looked like they were on a collision course for a while, but that was before Tony Parker went down with an injury and we learned he’d miss the next month with that sprained ankle.

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder have shown themselves to a worthy foe, but they don’t appear to be appreciably better than the team the Heat took apart in The Finals last year (when Wade and Bosh were playing injured). Plus, the Heat swept the regular-season series with them after a 4-1 victory in The Finals last season.

Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks waxed the Heat twice earlier this season and had them on the ropes early Sunday at Madison Square Garden before folding under the relentless pressure the Heat applied.

The Indiana Pacers believe themselves to be a worthy adversary for the reigning champs. And we’ll find out for sure Sunday night in Miami when these two play their final regular season game. But believing you are ready and actually being ready for the challenge of dethroning this Heat team are two different things.

If you don’t believe it, check with the Boston Celtics, who possess all the confidence needed but lack the raw materials to complete the task.

Kobe Bryant and the reconstructed Los Angeles Lakers were built to deal with any team, including the Heat. But we all know how that plan has worked out to date.

We’d even held out hope that the Los Angeles Clippers, as fresh a story as we’ve had in the league in years, could vault themselves into the conversation of elite teams that could contend with the Heat. But we’ve seen the separation between Chris Paul and his crew and the truly elite outfits in some of their recent head-to-head matchups.

Have the Heat reached that point when they no longer need to look over their shoulder to see where the rest of the pack is in relation to them? Are they racing against history and their own dreams of a dynasty as opposed to the other teams with title dreams?

If the answer to those questions is yes, the Heat can point to one crucial change in their chemistry and makeup that has led them to their current dominant state of being (they’re going for a franchise-record 15th straight win tonight at Minnesota, 8 p.m. ET on NBA TV).

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has found the perfect mix to surround James with. Spoelstra has a system that allows the most dynamic and dominant force in the game today the freedoms to not only assert himself when need be (as he did in the fourth quarters in weekend wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and Knicks), but also to play his game without the need to conform to anyone else’s notion of what a superstar of his caliber in this situation should be.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports breaks it down beautifully here:

For everyone else who insists that Heat president Pat Riley is vital to James’ future, make no mistake: Staying with coach Erik Spoelstra will mean even more to James’ future.

Spoelstra’s been tough enough to stand firm with a mercurial star, and innovative enough to expand the Heat’s offense and defense to deepen James’ impact on winning and losing.

Before Miami, James could be so easily distracted in the 24-7 news cycle of minutiae. These days, ESPN analysts are baiting him with a $1 million offer to participate in the dunk contest on All-Star weekend. This isn’t the 1980s and early ’90s, when even superstars needed All-Star weekend to market themselves.

Those days are over, and James has come to understand that with him, less is more. Once, the contest was necessary for Michael Jordan, but today’s stars – least of all James – don’t need it.

“Right now, it doesn’t stand anywhere,” James said Sunday. “Right now, I’m focused on what we’re doing as a team.”

That would be focused on steamrolling the competition and running away from the pack, two things that have come into clear focus in recent weeks.

When they were introduced to the public, the Heat stars predicted they’d win multiple titles during their time together. Well, we’re not ready to hand over any hardware before it’s time … but surely you can understand why they’d be confident right now.

.

67 Comments

  1. LMAO-no need to wish son-proof is in the puddn-like i said we’ll see come playoffs-nuff said! :)
    CELTICS-HORAAH-UBUNTU!!!

  2. @ frrrreida-& any other heat fan-first of all we’ll see who make it to the finals-with that we’ll see come playoffs!
    Celtics most dangerous team in the east!
    CELTICS-HORAAH-UBUNTU!!!

  3. Freida says:

    Go Miami Heat! We will see when the finals come. If healthy and Bosh steps up, then Miami Heat can win again but so many factors in winning another championship.

  4. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    It’s also VERY amusing to watch Kobe Bryant hoist up at least 3 or 4 30-foot 3-pointers. Of which, he missed all of them badly. And, I believe he shot those 30-footers when there was still plenty of time left on the shot clock.

    Funny, funny, funny.

    Sorry, Kob, you’re not Dan Majerle (who used to make lots of super-long-distance 3s).

  5. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    “But we all know how that plan has worked out to date.”

    To date??? Don’t be fooled by the recent Laker run. They can’t keep this going in the long run.

    Lakers (I surmise) probably won’t make the playoffs this season or the next 5 seasons.

    Bryant is trying so hard just to try to make the playoffs that he’s coming down with minor injuries. Probably because he’s out-of-shape from a cardiovascular standpoint. He looks like he just lifts weights but doesn’t do nearly enough cardio. Basketball involves tons of running and jumping. Muscle-building isn’t as important. That’s why he looks tired all the time.

    It’s funny watching Tuesday’s OKC game (not just for the lopsided officiating clearly in the Lakers’ favor [how many FTs did they get?]) when Laker coach sent Bryant out there to the “wolves” as soon as he could when Bryant returned from the locker room in the first quarter after suffering an elbow-stinger or whatever. Laker coach secretly wants to keep playing Bryant extremely heavy minutes out of sheer joy. Watching Bryant suffer. That is sadistic yet funny at the same time.

    Even if the Lakers get LUCKY and “stretcher” themselves into an 8 seed, OKC will SWEEP them out of the first round EASILY. It will be a GIFT for the OKC Thunder because they can have an easy first round and begin focusing right away on future rounds and on the Finals.

    I am the truth from which you run.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Guess it won’t really matter anyway (from a Laker perspective) because their next first-round pick is owned by the Phoenix Suns.

      I love this game.

  6. @ reg-Your damn right about that! I totally agree w/ you. Fans who are biased don’t look @ the game realistically because they kiss their teams A?! & put their head up it & not see the competition realistically. I’m not so worried about ny even though they’re pretty good, i’d be more worried about Indiana because of their team style of play. Plus heat fans can’t be that stupid to not see that heat were handed that ring last year & had every game in last years playoffs called in their favor by the refs so obviously that none fans could tell the difference. Not happening this year!
    CELTICS-HORAAH-UBUNTU!!!

  7. Nash fan says:

    it will be the vs LAKERS in the Finals!! XD

  8. Dwyane wade,Chrish Bosh & Lebron James r the best on the team I’m a HUGE Basketball fan even though the Heat lost the Championship 2 Yrs ago they r the best team in the whole NBA

  9. BJ says:

    Is it me or does it seem that Miami stands out because most of the east coast teams are mediocre? Miami has to come to the west to see how they stand up and thats the fact. in the east its basically Miami and all the other teams. Miami isnt running over teams over here in the west. Miami has to play games agianst SA, OKC and the Clips. Hell I believe the Clippers beat them 3 our fo 4 games already this season. so this is all hype. Lebron is playing exceptionally well right at this moment. but they are going to come up agianst some monster teams over here in the west, thats for sure.

    • dattebayo says:

      BJ, you are so wrong, when it comes to the Heat. Yes, the East is weak and injury riddled again (Rose, Rondo, D. Williams, Lou Williams, Lopez, Granger, Stoudemire) and the Heat stand out, because of that. However, the Heat have the best record of ANY team against the West with 23-5 (.821). They also never lost twice to any Western team, they lost in Memphis by 18 (Wade had a very poor game), at home against Golden State by 2, in Utah by 7 (Bosh had 1 rebound and Wade had another poor game), in L.A. against the Clippers by 7 and in Portland by 2 (because Matthews hit 2 fadeaway clutch threes in the last minute and won the game).

      The Heat own the West…

  10. sanjay says:

    ho ho, lot of doubters here!

    They think that miami just cant win against indiana. This is a totally different miami team before the streak. The bird was just getting started a month ago( they had signed him for second 10 day contract). And wade was still getting his gear on( he has been normal and nothing flashy!). Battier has just improved and Ray still is not yet Ray!

    Indian can be shut down if one of the stars west or hill can be cut, they cant win against miami. Just like what happened in newyork when battier and james shut down melo and JR Smith was totally left on his own!

    And james and co will do just that!

    What has indiana done against west coast teams? okc/clippers/spurs have sent them packing!

    Miami had best paint game against memphis and that is the template to beat indiana!

    People thinking that they will again lose to indiana are just haters!
    May be it could be a blow out of indiana come sunday in the heat house!
    let us see about that!

    • Isaaac says:

      i believe that the pacers will beat miami again, because they are a team not just based around a big three, there is always another scoring option of them. Also, they have the best defense in the NBA, not that you probably think that matters. But hey, I’m just a hater I guess.

  11. Rocks says:

    A long winning streak is a nice confidence booster no doubt about that. But don’t read too much into it. I think it’s expected for a team with Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Allen, Shane, Lewis and the rest of the guys to achieve such a feat. They’re the defending champions with a talented rooster, an excellent coach and a flipping good management. But can they take it all the way? All the way? Well, it’s not easy to tell. Nope. The play-offs always come with surprises. Remember what Dallas did few years ago? Anybody expected that? Not many. Remember what the Celtics nearly did to the Heat last season in the play-offs? I think the East is going to bring a lot of surprises come the play-offs. Don’t be surprised to realise then how worthy other teams are.

  12. Huddle. says:

    Why are some of you saying that James is guaranteed not winning (another title). Hand it to the Heat and the man, they’re playing good ball. Even if you don’t want them to win, appreciate the talent. It’s not easy winning fifteen games in a row in this league, no matter the opponent.

    • Adam says:

      That’s true, hand it to the Heat, and not to Lebron ONLY. Becuase he couldn’t have won any single title without Wade and Bosh. When he was with the Cavs, he did not achieve such fete. Nuff said.

  13. Celtics anyone?? says:

    Anyone considering the celtics? They have a much better bench than Miami and Avery Bradley has shown that he had the ability to lock down d-wade. Lebron cant be guarded though and its a fact. But I still see the C’s as a possible threat but who knows…..

  14. Reg says:

    It’s funny you heat lovers forget the celtics almost one the series with a injured team… Aka an old. The east is up for grabs between New York Indiana and Boston.

  15. Louk from Orlando says:

    I’m in Love with the Miami Heat …. I already seen the Heat as the 2012 -2013 Champion!!!

  16. Adam says:

    How much superstars did it take for Lebron to win a ring? A LOT!

  17. Adam says:

    Without Wade and Bosh, Lebron won’t win a single championship. He wasn’t able to do it i n Cleveland. Good work Heat!

  18. BeatHoustonGuy says:

    the bigger they are..the harder they fall…just a reminder…

  19. EarlSanity says:

    Maybe The Pacers will upset them

  20. W/E says:

    When C.Anthony is the best player in ur team u know ur in trouble come playoff time. The heat r gunna slaughter the knicks big time if they meet in playoffs.

  21. The Heat r way better then the Thunder because they Won the Championship of the playoffs :) :)

  22. PacerNation says:

    I just dont understand Heat fan logic. In one sentence you hear Heat fans say regular season doesnt matter its all about the play-offs, then in the next sentence they say we are in play-off mode now so every game matters. Make up your minds. Heat are a great team and going to be very difficult for anyone to beat, but I wouldnt not walk to loud and proud until the buzzer sounds and you have made it out of the east. You have David West and Roy Hibbert to contend with in the middle while trying to decide if you want to gaurd three 3pt shooters outside in PG, Hill, and Stephenson. And that is just the starting core, if granger even is half himself coming off the bench and not a starter then you have Mahimi and Hansborogh down low with granger augustine and johnson all very much 3pt threats. So whats my point. The media needs to quit feeding Heat fans with a false sense of entitlement, that the championship is thiers in March. Its not!

    • kp says:

      Its dif from the clippers win streak r they the defending champs no so wen miami come together and start playn the best bball there win streak does means somethn

  23. pattyM says:

    My cousin is a nightclub owner in Miami and Haslem dropped to him the other day that Chris Paul and Joakim Noah will be coming to the Heat at the end of the season and that they will be traded for Miller, Howard and Jones. Apparently the deal is already done. They are just waiting for the end of the season. Maimi 2013-2014 lineup:

    Paul
    Wade
    James
    Bosh
    Noah

    Not too bad at all. Miami champs for sure!!

  24. Gil L. says:

    Early season games are entirely different from palyoff games…Heat is approaching to playoff level.. 2-1 in favor of Knicks is not a big deal.

  25. Dwade says:

    D’Wade is the Man… 3rd ring is coming for him… Fak u

  26. yoyosuites says:

    Most teams that can get away with committing crucial fouls at the end of games usually win. The Tyson Chandler throw down yesterday, 4 point swing, there was goal tend non call in the sacramento game, 5 point swing, no call in game 2, swings home court advantage. Holding no call in the end zone… Baltimore wins the game.
    Refs make the players finish games and champions know it.

    • dattebayo says:

      Yes, Lebrons block on Chandler was a bad non call and should have been called a foul. Yes the score on the other end in transition was huge, too. However, Melo shuffled his pivot foot on at least three drives in the 1st quarter, which should have been 3 turnovers and not 6 points. The refs don’t call everything, for whatever reason, it’s not like the Heat got every call in the game. Or do you think Stoudemire can be thrown to the ground by Chalmers?

  27. Idc about this winning streak.. Just like they kicked NYCs’s Azzz Sunday, now kick Indy’s Azzz come this sunday and I would say this winning streak is worth it… The punk kid &The wana be tough kid Danny Granger needs to start another fights with James this sunday game… I wana see more bad blood between these two team … Plez Heat Destroy Indy this coming sunday game….. Seku stop kissing up to heat too much bro…
    GO Heat Nation!
    Gaaaaah!

  28. iSHAQ or SHAQTOLOGY says:

    Not Unless Trade Tyson Chandler to Dwight Howard…
    Carmelo needs to Team up with Dwight Howard to beat Miami…
    if not…
    MIAMI can do the 3peat… They will be CHAMP again this Year…
    Erik Spoelstra an Elite Coach.

  29. dj rgm9 says:

    I saw yesterday’s game heat vs knicks,props for the Heat because of the come back-win effort they made.The real reason why the Knicks lost to the Heat because the second half the defence from the Knicks lost a good portion of the defence lock they had in the first Half! Second; the Knicks where clumsy with the scoring end&easy baskets,too much missing 3pointers.The Knicks where they’re own enemy yesterday’s game.So what! It is still 2-1 advantage wins for the Knicks,even later comming game’s to play against the Pacers if the heat wins this one too it is still 2-1 advantage for the Pacers!So what?So basicly the last games they play before the play-offs against Knicks&Pacers are the most important ones to win!Standing(Heat)with 1-3 against Knicks&Pacers is not a good sign before the play-offs run,a must for the Heat that’s for sure!The dominance now for the Heat as Champs is a normal thing,every season you see some team’s having a dominant long run wins in the Season.Even Spurs showed on everybody in 2012 they where dominant at the regular season but falling short when it realy counts on the”conference finals”.What the heck!why not try 30wins long run like the Lakers did in the past!
    So basicly nothing new here around,let’s wait and see said the blind man against the def one!

  30. Big Time says:

    wow, Birman’s signing was huge, he filled the only hole in their lineup which other teams could exploit (he protects the paint) – Pacers won’t have that advantage anymore.

    • Boshtrich says:

      Bandwagoners hopping on the Heat like usual. What’s the point in saying a team is going to make a deep run if you only look at their winning streak and say “oh yeah they’re doing great”? But if course you gotta give the added bonus to the ultimate bandwagon team. Nothing new here .

      • bigwes95 says:

        @boshtrich. i like your name first of all. but no one is saying they’re going to go far in the playoffs because of this run, they are saying maybe because they’ve gone to the finals the last 2 years, won the champioships last year, are just starting to reach their peak performance for the regular season, are 16-1 since the birdman came, maybe 17-1? lebron is unstoppable right now, and a bad game for him is a triple double basically. so how is this bandwagoning? and don’t say they get added bonuses because a lot of people like them, they’re also the most hated team in the league right now. and OKC is probably the biggest bandwagon team for the NBA, seriously, they average the most free throws per game, more than the heat! and the heat are babied? more like KD is, considering he has more than 8 technical fouls, more than anyone, or was for a majority of the time. but he’s still the good guy compared to lebron who doesn’t even have 5. and when have you ever seen any criticized for doing dunks in warm ups besides lebron? no one! this team is under so much pressure compared to everyone else, the fact that you say they’re a bandwagon team is ridiculous. maybe true, but you’re saying they’re only winning because of this.

  31. anything can happen says:

    Funny how when teams get on a roll everyone starts saying they are gonna win it all. I can remember this same year the clippers and their win streak everyone was jumping on their wagon. The heat are playing great ball no doubt, but if anything the regular season doesn’t mean nothing when the playoffs start.

    • iCFakers says:

      Don’t be mad. People hate to see Miami playing to their potential. I understand that. No one is saying they are guaranteed. It’s just an article highlighting a great stretch of basketball from them, and pointing out the FACT that as of right now they have no equals. Again, don’t be mad.

      • anything can happen says:

        I ain’t mad because I know this streak means nothing.I’ll put money down they don’t win the title this year. Lebron will be a one hit wonder that’s it.

    • kp says:

      Its dif from the clippers win streak r they the defending champs no so wen miami come together and start playn the best bball there win streak does means somethn

  32. Yes they're good, but says:

    The entire media covered their victory over NYK as though they destroyed the Knicks. They won by six points and only put it away in the closing seconds. Also, last time I checked the season series is still in NY’s favor and last time I checked the margin of victory in those games WAS BY 20 POINTS!

    Either Indiana or NY can beat Miami in a series. I’m calling it now, The Heat aren’t making the finals.

    • MVP says:

      …and that’s where you completly wrooong..maybe indiana or new york could beat them in a game, but in a series miami will destroy them 4:1 or 4:2..the only way new york can beat miami is when they shoot the lights out..you don’t shoot the lights out in each and every game..this miami heat team is made for series as you could saw in the last playoffs..they got the best player in this world, with the best “sidekick”..and since the birdman has arrived they’re 16/1..

    • Dieter says:

      If Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace play their best basketball of their carreer, they can beat the heat, but that’s not gonna happen. Melo can’t stop Lebron, Chandler will have his hands full with Bosh, and Wade can easily beat that defence time after time.

      The Pacers on the other hand could be a big problem for the Heat, if and only if Granger is up for the task. Granger has to lock down James, Hibbert has to dominate the post, and George has to play better than Wade.

      • Isaaac says:

        i think you’ve undervalued david west right there. look at this numbers of late. he definitely goes to work down low. good luck the heat stopping that

    • Adam Speilberg says:

      Hey, it was a different Miami team that played in December. The Knicks were #1 in the East back then if I’m not mistaken, but where the hell are they now?

  33. mario lima says:

    Why mention the Spurs when last year they did the same and where taken out by OKC . They still have to prove beyond the regular season thay have what it takes.

  34. Adam Speilberg says:

    This team is really playing on a different level. I wonder what Reggie Evans thinks about the Heat right now…

  35. Aaron says:

    Let’s not mention the two double digit losses against the Pacers this year while the heat were motivated and at full-strength. Streak began after Indiana crushed them Feb. 1st. and will end on March 10th with a loss to the Pacers.

    • Isaaac says:

      true that. i loved the absence of the results between indy and the heat. wouldn’t have backed up the article. If the pacers beat the heat sunday, some people are going to look so stupid

  36. robert says:

    they’ve played good ball but the better teams have given them all they could handle. In 4 or 5 of the games over this stretch D-Wade has gone Flash in the 4th quarter and bailed them out. Sekou is making it sound like this run has been as dominate as the 95-96 Bulls January run and it hasn’t. A win is a win in the NBA but getting pushed to OT by a team like Sac is not impressive.They’ll lose to Indy again on Sunday. That’s one of the few teams that they can’t just beat physically, win or lose they usually bring out all Miami’s flaws. I think this team is great for the league (because they are really a unified team) and going forward I hope they meet the Spurs at full strength in the Finals. That would be great basketball to watch.

  37. theholyspectator says:

    their is no team that can stop the miami heats..its not even post season yet and they are crushing teams..i would like to see spurs and heat in the nba finals but okc will beat them in the west so we will have another rematch and you know that miami will tear down okc for a 2nd straight title…no one is stopping these guys when they are all clickin and play locked in laser focus defense, only way miami is not winning the title this year is if lebron gets a season ending injury…no team has the offensive explosion and the defensive energy to compete 48 minutes with the heat…here comes title number 2

  38. Tekisha says:

    However, Chris Bosh looked totally lost yesterday? #WheresBosh?

  39. Tekisha says:

    No doubt Miami is playing on another level. They have the recipe to beat any team, especially in a series. I hope Spo sits LBJ tonight vs the TWolves, that fall yesterday didn’t look good at all. Can we also talk about “the others?” Shane Battier and Ray Allen have gotten their swagger back! WOOO!! Can’t wait to see what happens next! 🏀So hard!

  40. LOLakers says:

    Get ready for the 10-peat!!!! No team can possibly beat the Heat this decade!!!! They are UNBEATABLE!!!!

    • big man 7 foot 2 says:

      wrong already dallas already beat them in 2011 , that counts as this decade right LOL #IDIOT, call it a one peat because they ain’t winning another one because they stink.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      That’s what us Thunder fans (or at least this Thunder fan) secretly want the Heat to think.

      Seeing the Heat prancing around like clowns doing some lame “harlem dance” (or whatever that was) is cute.

      But totally a waste. Maybe decent exercise. Okay, I’ll give them that. But otherwise, time that could be used studying film or something. :-)

      Go ahead, Lebron. As great as you are and always will be in NBA history … the last time I saw Lebron dancing around like a fool was when he was a Cleveland Cavalier (except he did that during a game). If memory serves me correctly, the Cavs failed to get to the Finals that year.

      Yes, the Thunder have struggled against the Heat … but mark my words. They are strategically planning their ways toward a NBA World Championship THREEPEAT!! 2013, 2014, 2015 — OKC Thunder wins it all!!! They’re so young that they may be able to win even more!!!!!!!

  41. jjhellj says:

    Don’t hear much about the Spurs with the best record in the league but as soon as the Heat rack up some wins Lebron’s face is blown up all over the media. Searching for a worthy adversary in the East perhaps.. put the Heat in the West and they’d be competing with the other best teams in the league, OKC, LAC, and SAS. Lebron’s an absolute beast.. hands down. But come on the East is scrub city other than Miami.

  42. Game Time says:

    This is championship caliber basketball Miami is playing and what everyone (fans or haters) have wanted them to show. The crazy part is we still haven’t seen a full power Miami team. James has a good night and so might Wade, but Bosh is usually missing; a few nights Bosh steps up and on or the other two stars disappear. Maybe that’s just the way it needs to be, but we know that on any given night or maybe a few of them, this team can have all three stars firing on all cylinders. That mixed in with what I think is a complete supporting cast with Shane, Chalmers, Allen, Cole, Birdman and UD is a very scary match for any team. I know it rubs people the wrong way proclaiming Miami guaranteed to repeat but if this is the Miami team that shows up for the playoffs then there really is no other team that I see beating them.

  43. [...] …Miami Heat laying double digits in Minnesota on second night of back-to-backSportingNews.comHeat Still Hunting Worthy AdversariesNBA.com (blog)The five teams that could win 2013 NBA FinalsUSA TODAYWTSP 10 News -New York [...]

  44. amy russman says:

    Nobody on the Heat need to prove anything to anybody. They are doing it on the court game after game. Repeat Heat!