Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Hate the Heat? Why? James, Wade Expected to Respond
So the Heat must have assembled the greatest Superteam in NBA history, a manifold of talent equipped with presumably the best trio of all-time, one of the deepest rosters in league history that can morph into an unbelievable bust. This is the time -- as soon as LeBron James abruptly left Cleveland distastefully and hijacked airwaves to broadcast his skittish P.R. stunt nationally -- however -- when the Miami Heat is a marriage of sheer accomplishments in an assuring postseason pursuit.
As soon as the Heat were demoralized by the Chicago Bulls in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, still fighting off the chills and letdown, the folks in South Beach panicked and heard the bloviating, inane chatter from all the disbelievers who've hated Miami since the bizarre transitions last summer. This is the moment, a grand opportunity for the Heat to vindicate that it was never a waste in bringing in the proper essentials. But of all things, the framework built cleverly by the architect Pat Riley, optimistic in his balanced core, is pointing in the favor of the Heat. And here they are, expected to bring an NBA championship to South Beach and the year James can respectfully win his first championship ring.
We know what would happen, evidently, if the Heat unravels in the series this postseason. There would be much debate, swirling around the star-studded franchise in the NBA, James and Wade would be seen in the local newspapers in Miami and much criticism would be directed towards James, only if he is devoid of his first championship with his new teammates. James, by now, doesn't care if you laugh and ridicule him. Even if he mishandled his departure callously and poorly, during his dramatic free-agency landing, it took sizable guts and sacrifice to emotionally decamp from a town where he was a native of and where fans admired the global superstar.
So, it would be understandable and common sense, when he indubitably sacrificed his legacy and ego, to believe that a painful loss would be devastating after yielding his claim to all-time greatness. Although, Charles Barkley is famously a psychotic blowhard, for all of his foolish rants and even his marshmallow stupidity when he was busted on a DUI arrest not long ago, he could have inspired the Heat to respond in Game 2 on Wednesday night with heart and assurance. While he was nice enough to openly give Miami credit and said they have "terrific players," he also said the team is "a whiny bunch" whenever populace are critical of the Heat. In defense, the Heat are girly when people take shots at them -- in perhaps Miami's profundity of star power -- following lackluster and inexcusable performances.
If there's a person catching more heat for the languished, slow start in the series, it's obvious that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is at fault after Miami's awful performance in which the ferocious franchise of the East backed down as the Bulls exposed their weaknesses. It's a representation of how he's not fittingly the perfect voice, daunted by his unknown job status and the challenge down the road, which could be a prolonged skirmish on the court in an intense, rough series. Just in one game, down 1-0 in the series, the Heat are pressured to avoid dropping 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals. At the moment, the Heat are caught in a predicament with steep ramifications, forced to rebound in a must-needed game come Wednesday night in the United Center in Chicago.
For a moment there, aside from Derrick Rose proving to be the best guard in the game today, particularly when he was acknowledged with accolades for winning the Most Valuable Player award and leading the Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals in what was a sensational season, the Heat were unbeatable, untouchable and invulnerable. For now, as the Heat ended the Celtics' unthinkable surge, dispatching and sending the veteran core of the East instantly to the grave, buried in the demise of oldness and infirmity, the Heat are unable to blend in with the pizzazz of the Bulls defensive backbone. If that's the case, then there's no question that the Heat encountered the scariest challenge. If the Heat are to ever move forward, not dwelling on the past or a bitter meltdown in Game 1, then they'll need to shrug off the notion of a setback and find adjustments for a stronger recovery in Game 2.
"We've been able to bounce back this year no matter if it's been the regular season or the postseason," James said. "Learn from mistakes in the previous game and then move on. We've done that. "We've looking forward to the challenge, we're excited about tomorrow's opportunity to be here and try to steal homecourt."
Um, you're not only playing for homecourt, LeBron!! You are playing to keep hopes alive in potentially a seven-game series.
We hear all the time, no matter who's the opponent, about the Heat's resiliency and finding ways to fight off the adversity. This team, the Heat, are talented wrapped with the highest expectations and, if James and Dwyane Wade delivers in the most important game of the season, then Miami won't trail in a 2-0 deficit to place such a marveled adventure in jeopardy. So even as the Heat, entered the series on a surge and neutralized one of the league's peskiest defenses, the Bulls showed they aren't afraid of the greatest trio in the NBA. The lack of anticipation of the isolation scheme and the limited ball movement, even if Miami's isolation creates ball movement, crippled the Heat and generated headaches for fans, coaches and players.
"Miami’s been a good ball-movement team all year,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “They have players that when the ball comes back to them, they can go one-on-one. That’s what makes them so dangerous and tough to guard. Sometimes, your best ball movement comes off isolation because you have to commit two defenders to the player, and once the ball moves, now you’re getting wide open shots or easier shots.”
One possible upside to the Heat's string of resurrection, after Miami increasingly solidified parity in the weaponry of terrific superstars, is James and Wade, a pair of appreciated ballplayers who scored 35 and 33 points in a closeout game against Boston. It's seemingly no need to ponder, such as whether or not James is essentially a valuable piece. In terms of his abysmal 15 point display in the opener, merely hitting 5 of 15 shots while Bulls' Luol Deng harassed and turned his night into a miserable outing, he is expected to respond in a signature performance.
It's hard to envision the Heat, so often depending on Wade to channel his inner superhero, natural powers by finishing with a clutch performance, winning anything without the team leader. This is, after all, his team -- a maestro for a promising franchise that can wilt or either prevail in South Beach -- unless the Heat totally disappears if ghost and demons rule. Actually, for the most part, it seems like a recipe for disaster after the first game of the series. And this is, of course, what we are used to seeing from the Heat. With the exception of Wade and James, the Bad Boys or the Miami Thrice in South Beach, there's a sense of belief that the Heat wins the second game of the series.
The folks in Miami have become worried and restless, all while bracing a match up of Rose and James -- a pair of NBA stars that increasingly uplifts viewership and sells tickets in Chi-Town and Southern Florida. Having a younger, deeper and healthier unit, where defensively the Heat are focus and where the prolific scoring hit an all-time high as the trifecta learned how to play together, now jelling together as a unified core.
All this is true, but can the Heat prevail against a team with the league-leading defense?? For once, together on the same roster, James and Wade were forlorn and so humbled unlike ever before when they realized it was a travesty and stunning. So began a new quest to rejuvenate from a grim, hopeless disappointment, ready to erase the ominous anger of the most discouraging scenario. In the next game, Wade can't settle for a quiet 18 points and should earn more touches, being that he's the precocious team leader with much seniority.
In the next game, James can't pass on great opportunities and needs to discern the importance of a considerable shot selection instead of attempting fallaway jumpers. If anything, a comeback by Wade and James is expected. Maybe Chris Bosh finally awakens at center and contribute inside the paint. Maybe Spoelstra won't risk giving a confused Jamaal Magloire playing minutes. And maybe he'll trust in Udonis Haslem. Or maybe he'll utilize the seven-foot center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. That would be worth watching in the next game. For now, at least, the Heat are still in the mix.
Expect the Heat to rebound!
Definitely not worth shedding tears over.