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Similar to last year, the Heat are the big bullies of the East. Frankly, as great as their record is, it isn’t truly reflective of what this team is capable of, and as we mentioned earlier, it appears as if the sleeping giant might be stirring back to consciousness after some recent inconsistency on the road.
With arguably the best player on the planet in LeBron James leading the charge, it doesn’t hurt to have the likes of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh lending a hand, either.
The Heat’s perimeter attack and bench was solidified with the acquisitions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, and the continued maturity of Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole ensures they will have serviceable options at point for some time to come.
The biggest thing for the Heat is consistency. The team is at its best when they are playing their high-intensity pressure defense. Denying passing lanes, trapping ball handlers and forcing bad decisions is what they do best, but again, it all depends on their effort and focus.
Some nights, especially on the road, the Heat look lackadaisical and disinterested, two things that will lead to stagnancy and sloppy play.
Like the Thunder, this is a team that excels in the open court, and if everyone doesn’t show up with their track shoes, they are a team that just isn’t as effective. If this team is motivated and focused, they are undoubtedly the best team in the league.
Their ability to force turnovers, push the pace and eviscerate opposing defenses with their dribble penetration is masterful, and perhaps only a handful of rosters have the personnel to do the same.
The key for the Heat aside from the obvious things—you know, stretching the floor with threes, defensive intensity, etc., is ultimately, staying hungry for a repeat.
They’ve done it before, and they can undoubtedly do it again, but if they don’t show up come playoff time with the same intensity as last year, the hungrier team will outlast them.
Until someone can definitively prove otherwise, the Heat are still the prime favorites to win it all yet again.