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Miami Heat Should Fear Mike D'Antoni's L.A. Lakers More Than Anyone

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22:  Mike D'Antoni of the New York Knicks reacts against the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 22, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIINovember 14, 2012

With the hiring of Mike D'Antoni, the Los Angeles Lakers have instantly gone from a system-based offense to a free-flowing unit. As a result, one of the greatest collections of talent in the modern era will be allowed to play with no limits.

Which is exactly why the Miami Heat should be afraid of what's to come.

The Lakers are not the athletic dynamos that the Heat have proven to be. What they are, however, is led by an offensive mastermind in D'Antoni and the greatest pick-and-roll point guard since John Stockton in Steve Nash.

In other words, they're as close to un-guardable as you can find.

With a combination of elite defensive weapons, the Lakers are prepared to bring D'Antoni's "seven seconds or less" system to new heights. Considering D'Antoni has made two Western Conference Finals appearances, the next logical step is an NBA Finals appearance.

Until proven otherwise, that would set up a potential showdown between the Heat and Lakers.

 

Masters of the Read & React Clash

When the Miami Heat face the Mike D'Antoni-led Los Angeles Lakers, the battle will be more exciting than we'd previously imagined. But what is it that makes it this way?

The key to the Heat's offense is LeBron James and Dwyane Wade's ability to handle the ball and facilitate. The way they do so is through a read-and-react approach in which the open man is the one who receives the feed.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it D'Antoni fans?

With Steve Nash at the helm, the Lakers will take that very approach to every game. Regardless of who can be found through a seam in the defense, they will be hit for open shots whenever they create a passing lane.

And even when they haven't, you can believe that Nash will try to find them.

With this being known, the Heat can prepare to have their hands full on defense. Although the Lakers are far removed from the athletic level of Miami, they are led by one of the greatest decision-makers in NBA history.

Nash will lead this team to at least 100 points a night. In turn, Miami will have to rely on their offensive attack to keep the pace.

Will they be able to do so?

 

Go Ahead, Drive the Lane

During the eight games in which the Miami Heat's Big Three has faced Dwight Howard, they've scored a mere 96.8 points per game. And to think, that happened with D-12 playing on the Orlando Magic.

Just imagine how they'll fare when Howard actually has elite talent surrounding him.

This is not to suggest that Miami will not be able to score. With the addition of sharpshooters Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, the Heat are now a greater perimeter threat than they've ever been before.

With that being said, don't expect Miami to be able to drive the lane against L.A. Not without meeting Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill on the way.

 

These Aren't Kids

With all due respect to the Miami Heat, we aren't talking about a bunch of men in their mid-20s who want to relocate to a party city and play basketball. The Los Angeles Lakers are a group of proven veterans that are looking for nothing short of an NBA championship.

Which is exactly why the Heat are in a tough spot against the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant has won five NBA championships, while Pau Gasol has won two and Metta World Peace has won one. 

The only starters who haven't struck gold are three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard and two-time MVP Steve Nash. Sounds promising, does it not?

With this being established, there is no reason for the unbiased mind to view the Heat as a clear-cut favorite over the Lakers. Miami should be embracing the challenge of facing the reborn Showtime.

A challenge they may not be able to overcome.

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