Is Miami Just Toying With the Rest of the League?By James F.
Is this season’s NBA Championship really up for grabs? Or is this Lebron James’ world and everybody else is just living in it? There have been many discussions the last few days about the “greatest of all time” between Michael Jordan and Lebron James. While many think it a bit presumptuous to have this discussion, ask yourself if there is another player that this discussion could even include. Kobe Bryant maybe? That’s about it.
So while James vs Jordan might be a big silly at this point, is it going to be silly a few years from now? Obviously Kobe is not in the running for a ring this season. For James to even be in the same discussion as Jordan, he needs rings. He needs lots of them. He also needs a stretch of at least three seasons where his team dominates the NBA. Is he in the midst of that stretch right now?
An argument can be made the the Miami Heat is in a stretch like that right now. They lead the Eastern Conference of the NBA. They are beating the top teams in the league, some rather easily. They dominate games down the stretch, such as last night when they were tied with the Portland Trail Blazers until it was “go time” and then wound up winning by double figures.
But wait, the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have better records than the Heat. That is true. But, we say do not be fooled by that. The Heat have beaten the Thunder and also the Spurs. They also dismantled the Los Angeles Clippers last week even with Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Blake Griffin all playing. Sometimes championship caliber teams are not worried about a mid week game against the Washington Wizards or New Orleans Hornets and they get beat. To put it bluntly, they get bored.
The Bulls got bored at times during the Jordan era. We remember the 70 win season but if you recall they beat the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz in the finals on the road. One reason for that is because the Bulls knew they could win anywhere at anytime. It could be the Heat are like that now. Home court advantage is not a priority because they will beat you on their court and then they will beat you on yours.
How can you tell the Heat is about the take over? Look at how well they are playing the closer we get to the end of the regular season. James has been unstoppable the last several games. He has misses 22 shots in the last five games, breaking 30 points in all five. The rest of the league is just not tough enough for him.
Two years ago, James took a lot of heat (pun intended) for joining up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to “ring chase”. Then he took even more for his “not two, not three, not four…” declaration at a Heat pep rally. People laughed at the guy who had not yet won one ring with that audacity. Those people are not laughing now.
They are also not talking much about how James had to team up with Wade and Bosh anymore either. Because it is obvious now who the Heat’s best player and leader is. It is #6. I think we now know what the jersey number change was all about. Six was not just a jersey number. It was a goal. Will he achieve it? Maybe, maybe not. But whether he does or not probably has little to do with this year and even next year. Those titles are practically in the bag.