Three Eastern Conference Stars Standing in Way of Miami Heat Repeat

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Three Eastern Conference Stars Standing in Way of Miami Heat Repeat
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

So I'm not going to lie: As a huge fan of the cartoon Smurfs, the movie Groundhog Day and, of course, the Miami Heat, there was really no way I was going to miss watching my favorite team go up against the best rebounding team in the NBA

Which means I'd need to move my recliner two feet closer to the television, have a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios on one arm of my chair, a printout of all the comments left in my last article by fans who insist the Heat's rebounding issues are due to a lack of effort more than size on the other and the words "Chris Anderson" already pre-programmed on the Twitter search of my phone. 

Now, don't judge me for being the hopeless romantic that I am, but if Sam Baldwin and Suzy could defy all the odds and end up together, I don't see why kismet couldn't drive Birdman into the innocent embrace of South Beach. 

In any case, the Miami Heat would lose to the Indiana Pacers, out-rebounded by 19 on the glass after giving up an astounding 22 offensive boards, and embark upon a road trip with five games remaining. Their success in such circumstances is now .500 for the season. 

To be clear, Miami wanted to win this game. LeBron James reminded us of that much by rehashing some of the boastful remarks made by Indiana's players in the recent past. 

Ultimately, though, their struggles on the glass and the road were too much to overcome. 

And for the first time in a while, we were all reminded that although this Heat team is stacked with talent, it still maintains the mentality of an underdog. 

Much like the Boston Celtics thrive on intimidation, we usually don't see Miami at its best until adversity comes into the equation. 

It took them five games to beat a New York Knicks team that was ripe to be swept in the first round of last year's playoffs. They fell behind three times in the playoffs, against Indiana, Boston and Oklahoma City, before coming back to win each series. 

To quote the wise words of the philosophers Joey Tribianius and Chandler Bingistotle, Miami needs "the fear"

Without it, as well as a decent rebounder, there are three players in the Eastern Conference just as capable as Dirk Nowitzki was two years ago of sweeping the rug out from under the over-confident Heat and sending them into the kind of despair only known by ruthless dictators, VH1 reality stars and, worst of all, Dallas Cowboy fans.  

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