Miami Heat: 4 Reasons the Big 3 Will Repeat in 2012-13

Corey NolesCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2012

Miami Heat: 4 Reasons the Big 3 Will Repeat in 2012-13

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    The Miami Heat is one of the most polarizing teams in all of professional sports. Lump them in with the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New England Patriots.

    Regardless of whether you love them or hate them, the Heat hoisted the championship trophy in June, and they are poised to do it again in 2013.

    Since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade and the Heat in 2010, the team has continually improved.

    There have been some hiccups along the way where it looked like they weren’t “jelling” early on, but they have been dominant for the past two seasons.

    The Heat’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals, where the team led the series 2-1 before dropping three in a row, only made their drive to win that much stronger.

    Through the 2011-12 season, the Heat were virtually untouchable. As the Big 3 continued to meld as a group, it was obvious what an explosive team this was.

    Following the off-season acquisitions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, combined with several other factors, the Heat should be even stronger in 2012-13.

    Here are four reasons the Heat are poised to win another championship.

4. Ray Allen

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    As if the Heat didn’t already have one of the toughest starting lineups in professional sports, the front office spent the off-season trying to make it even stronger—and they succeeded.

    The acquisition of Ray Allen will play a key role in the push for another championship. No, he’s not at the top of his game, and he's still battling ankle issues, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t bring anything to the table.

    Allen is still arguably the best three-point shooter in the game. In 2011-12 he shot .453 from behind the arc—a full 53 points over his career average of .400. His 14.2 PPG also make him a solid pickup, whether as a starter or off the bench, if his ankle becomes a problem at some point.

3. Bench Depth

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    With the addition of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, the Heat’s already solid bench steps up a notch.

    Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier and Norris Cole are a good enough batch of players to be an A-Team in some cities, but not Miami.

    Some of them will get more play time depending on the health of the starters, but regardless, Miami has a bench that can get the job done.

    The ability of Miller and Battier to sink threes almost on command is a good insurance policy for Allen, who has already mentioned working through ankle discomfort.

    The bench had a lot to do with the team’s success in 2011-12, and if there is a run this year, the bench will succeed once again.

2. LeBron Continues to Develop His Game

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    For years, people have questioned LeBron’s ability to close. In 2012, he proved them wrong.

    When games were tight, he got the ball. Whether it was to shoot or pass, he’s the player any team would want to make that call.  

    He debunked all of that -- the 45-point game in win-or-else Game 6 at Boston in the Eastern Conference finals, the one-legged 3-pointer when he was cramping against Oklahoma City that helped the Heat win Game 4 of the Finals, and then, the triple-double in the season's last game. – ESPN.com

    In addition to that, his playoff stats are higher than his career regular season averages in rebounds (offensive and defensive), blocks and points.

    Last year, James cut his personal fouls from 163 in 2010-11 to 96 in 2011-12. He also posted a career-high field goal percentage of .531 percent, tied his career high with 7.9 rebounds per game and posted a .771 percent from the free-throw line (second highest in his career).

    James is still growing as a player and, despite having a championship ring and now an Olympic gold medal, he still wants more.

    And he just might get it.

1. The Team Knows What It Takes to Win

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    As Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James have grown together as a team, they’ve also learned what it takes for their team to win.

    Bosh showed serious prowess at center against the Charlotte Bobcats, posting 21 points and looking like an experienced center. If that’s where head coach Erik Spoelstra wants him, that’s where he’ll be, and his speed could really benefit the team.

    James understands that basketball is a team sport. Sure, he scores big, but he also puts up a lot of assists. Regardless of your opinion of him, you can’t call him a selfish player.

    That’s a big part of why this team has been successful together.

    Any of the Big 3 could be the star somewhere else. Instead, they’ve figured out that by focusing on “we” instead of “me,” they can do almost anything as a team.

    Will that translate into success in 2012-13? There’s no guarantee, but betting against the Heat wouldn’t be recommended.