Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Above the Rim: Utter Dominance

In the wake of Miami’s big three era, greatness was always expected. The hype was undeniable, and the winning seemed like the only possible outcome. In the new team’s first year, a savvy, veteran-lead Mavericks squad ousted them in the Finals. The following year, the Heat found their stride and won the championship, making quick work of the Thunder in six games. This season, Miami has found their groove and are clicking on all cylinders imaginable. As if things couldn’t get any better, their season was recently highlighted by an epic 27-game winning streak, the second longest in NBA history.

It’s not just that they’re winning so many games, it’s how well this season’s roster blends and how players complement each other. LeBron continues to be on another level, and just when you thought he’s hit his peak, he surpasses it. It’s LeBron’s world, we’re just living in it. Wade and Bosh have been solid as complements to James, providing valuable scoring when needed. Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Chris Andersen, and others all have defined roles, and don’t need to do anything more than the one or two things expected of them. On top of all that, the Heat play some of the best team defense in the league.

The part of their play that has impressed me the most is the team’s overall comfort level and chemistry. Everyone knows what they’re supposed to do, how to do it, and when to do it. That level of understanding is rare in the NBA, and something that few teams have the benefits of having. A team that is that together, like the Heat, are a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.

Given the Heat’s dominance this season, particularly in the Eastern Conference, it’s hard to imagine they’ll have a very difficult run to the NBA Finals. The Bulls are still without Rose, the Knicks and Celtics have had persistent injuries, with teams like the Hawks and Nets not offering much of a challenge. The only possible road block in their own conference could be the Pacers, who counter the Heat’s athleticism with size and versatility.

In the West, the two teams that obviously stand out as contenders are the Thunder and Spurs. The Thunder have grown this year despite trading away James Harden, while the veteran Spurs look as dangerous as ever. Although the Heat-Thunder would be a great series as again, their lackluster Finals matchup last year left something to be desired. Injuries to LeBron and Wade robbed to viewing public of an epic showdown this past Sunday, but that matchup in the Finals would be truly spectacular. This could be the Spurs last stand with Duncan and a very old, experienced core, battling a new possible dynasty in the Heat.

If they haven’t already, the Heat have cemented themselves as one of the best teams in recent memory. Accentuated by an incredible winning streak and with LeBron at his new apex, Miami should continue to dominate in the postseason and for the foreseeable future. 


Josh Brackett is a pre-junior Sport Management major at Drexel University from Boston, MA.  Josh has past experience in the sports industry at ClibHoops Scouting Service and the Philadelphia Freedoms of World Team Tennis.  Currently, Josh is a member of the Drexel Athletics Event Management Team and he writes for his personal blog Get Buckets NBA

Connect with Josh Brackett on LinkedIn.

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