Mocking Miami fans has become one of NBA Nation's favorite pastimes.
After all, game after game, television viewers see more than a smattering of empty lower bowl seats, sometimes well into the first quarter. Heat fans tend to arrive late and (especially in the pricy seats) appear more concerned about looking good than actually looking at the action on the floor.
And yet, something strange has happened in front of those people:
The Heat has become a dominant home team.
Miami is 16-3 inside AmericanAirlines Arena. That compares to a 7-6 record on the road, prior to the start of a six-game trip that will force the Heat to face five teams that entered Monday's play a combined 64-30 at home, all of them above .500...even the listless Lakers.
That home tilt might not seem so striking, until you consider that the Heat, with six or seven of the same players in its regular rotation, was a virtually an even proposition (30-11 vs. 28-13) at home vs. the road just two seasons ago.
So what's happening away from South Florida?
Why has Miami been comfortably beaten by quality teams (Knicks, Grizzlies, Clippers, Bucks), struggled to beat lesser lights (Magic, Bobcats), and even fallen to a couple of non-contenders (Wizards, Pistons)?
(All quotes for this piece were collected through the author's coverage of the Miami Heat for the Palm Beach Post. All statistics were accurate as of Monday afternoon.)