It’s so easy to say that the Heat are done. Conventional wisdom seems to suggest that they are. At the conclusion of their Game 5 loss, the Heat’s intestinal fortitude, character and integrity have been called into question by almost all of the talking heads out there.
After many pundits declared the series over when Miami took a 2-0 lead, they have now begun jumping off the Heat bandwagon in droves. Commentators have gone on to cross-examine this entire Heat team, including the coaching staff.
If you turn on ESPN, the person who receiving most of the blame right now is head coach Erik Spoelstra. Does he deserve to take some heat after what transpired in Game 5? You better believe it. Does he have the necessary passion, enthusiasm and energy that it takes to be an exceptional head coach in the NBA?
You can make a strong case that he does not.
However, you must understand that it is up to the players to make the necessary plays during key moments of any given game. The coach can only do so much. The Heat have to want it more than their opponents.
In Game 5, Boston appeared to be the more determined team. Almost every 50-50 ball ended up in a Celtic's hands. There is nothing more discouraging and demoralizing than when the other team gets to all of the loose balls, especially on your home court.
At this point in the series, it all comes down to pride for the Head. We are talking about personal and professional pride here. It’s all about taking pride in your craft.
On the other hand, there are certainly some glaring questions concerning this team. Do the Heat have the necessary intangibles that every championship-caliber team must have? Will they continue to fight and scrap against a very experienced and poised Boston team?
You better believe this Heat team has fight in them. After all, their careers and personal reputations are on the line right now. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both need to prove to the world that they have what it takes to live up to their billings as superstars.
One cannot forget that infamous celebration where LeBron James promised multiple championships. “Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5…..” Well, in theory, that sounds wonderful, but you have to win one title first. And the Big Three truly understand this.
Go ahead and join the masses counting the Heat out and pushing the panic button on this team. But if you make the decision to do that, don’t come back and act like you truly believed in this team all along. Don’t be a front runner.
The smart thing to do is to believe that this team has a little more fight left in them. At the end of the day, these are professional basketball players. It’s time for the professionals to play like professionals. And it’s time for superstars to play like superstars.
Boston has proven to be a very formidable foe. They have excelled throughout this series by playing intelligently and efficiently. We knew all along that it was very possible that they could give the Heat problems. That’s why as a fan, all you can ask for is that the Heat to keep competing and playing with a certain level of joy.
Keep fighting Miami.