This first half of the Miami Heat season has been a whole lot better than last year's first half.
The Heat didn't start out 9-8. They didn't have a players only meeting.
There hasn't been trade rumors involving LeBron James, Chris Bosh or Mike Miller. James Jones and Juwan Howard aren't prominent players off the bench. Erik Spoelstra hasn't gotten fired five times, and the big three aren't having chemistry issues.
They're even beating the elite teams.
Chicago, Philadelphia twice, Indiana twice, the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio, Atlanta twice, Orlando, Boston and Dallas have all fell at the hands of the Heat. Sure is different from last year when the Heat went a combined 1-7 against the Bulls and Celtics.
Instead, you're seeing what the Heat were expected to do when they were brought together on July 8th, 2010: win games. Miami has done that extremely well this season with 26 wins out of 33 games in a compact schedule.
This team is working so well because of the chemistry between the big three and the depth of this team. Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem have returned off of injuries and are finally healthy, Shane Battier adds another perimeter defender and Norris Cole adds another ball handler, a player who can run the fastbreak and one that can hit the mid-range jumper.
It would be a shock if the Heat didn't win a title this year. You don't even have to be a Heat fan to share the same sentiments. They beat eight consecutive teams by at least 12 points, swept a back-to-back-to-back with each game on the road and have had the majority of these games decided by the fourth quarter.
Most of all, however, they put a temporary end to Linsanity. The sensation had eight points on 1-of-11 shooting, six rebounds, three assists, three steals and eight turnovers in 34 minutes.
Take a look as we grade how well the Heat's five starters have done in the first half of the season.