Why Nobody Can Beat the Miami Heat
Currently, the Miami Heat is the most unbeatable team in the NBA. They are on a hot 26-game winning streak after defeating the Charlotte Bobcats Sunday night, which means LeBron James and his crew are closing in on the Los Angeles Lakers’ all-time record 33-game winning streak set a whopping 41 years ago.
Miami’s dominance is, in a word, astonishing. Let’s break down exactly why this team can’t be tamed this season.
They've Got LeBron James
LeBron James is probably the single most important piece of the Miami Heat puzzle. He can take control of any game in order to lead the Heat to victory. Even when he’s not playing his best, LeBron can flip a switch and get the job done; as Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News said of James’ game against the Cleveland Cavaliers last Wednesday, “James was having an awful game, couldn’t throw the ball in Lake Erie, then dialed it up to another triple-double in a blink.”
Lupica also said more generally of James, “He gives you a Joe DiMaggio game every night, does it now more than ever.” James is getting praise from every corner of the basketball world for his play. Recently, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of the Heat and their dominant small forward, “Best team in the league, best player on the planet.”
James’ ability to come to play every night and take over any game in the blink of an eye renders him pretty much invincible. He is at the core of the Miami Heat’s success.
Wade and Bosh Complete Miami's "Big Three"
Dwyane Wade struggled during the playoffs last season and had a slow start to the 2012-13 season. Chris Bosh was sidelined for an important chunk of the 2012 playoffs with a strained abdominal muscle. However, the two players are currently doing very well to supplement the play of LeBron James.
For this season, Wade is averaging 21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 34.8 minutes per game. Moreover, his numbers are even better after the All-Star break. The shooting guard is an excellent companion to starting point guard Mario Chalmers.
Bosh is also putting up good per-game averages; he has 16.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 33.4 minutes for the 2012-13 season. Most recently, Bosh had a big scoring game on March 15, totaling 28 points during the Heat’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Dwyane and Bosh complete the All-Star trio at the center of the Miami Heat.
They Have Solid Bench Players
The Heat’s starters are not the only ones making noise. Backup point guard Norris Cole is a solid replacement for Mario Chalmers. He’s young and fast, averaging 4.6 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 18.4 minutes per game this season.
Expectedly, Ray Allen is another asset coming off the bench. One of the best shooters in the history of the NBA, Allen can be counted on as a clutch scorer in crunch time. He had an impressive game on March 17 against the Toronto Raptors, scoring 20 points in 25 minutes.
While he doesn’t make too much of a difference in the scoring department, power forward Udonis Haslem is a great rebounder coming off the bench. Haslem had a solid seven rebounds against the Detroit Pistons on Friday, March 22, and he is averaging 5.3 rebounds per 18.8 minutes of game play this season.
They Can Come Back No Matter the Deficit
During the third quarter of last Wednesday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, things did not look good for the Miami Heat. That was, until Miami squashed Cleveland’s 27-point lead in just eight minutes during the third quarter.
LeBron James described the Heat’s third quarter rally, “It…was one of the best comebacks I’ve ever been a part of.” Though James looked off of his game at first, he grabbed an impressive 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the fourth to ensure Miami’s 98-95 victory over Cleveland. He led the Heat with 25 points total. Point guard Mario Chalmers also helped out considerably, scoring 17 points for Miami.
The comeback reveals just how tough and capable the Miami Heat squad is in the face of near defeat. One thing is for sure: A lead over the Miami Heat, no matter how large, means nothing until the clock runs out of time.
They Can Take Control at the End of Games
The way in which the Heat took control over the Cavaliers at the end of the game Wednesday is not an isolated occurrence. Frequently, a team will have a consistent, albeit negligible, lead over Miami for a good part of the game only to lose in the end. It’s almost as if LeBron James and the rest of the Heat players have exclusive power over the final moments of every matchup.
For example, on Monday, March 18, the Boston Celtics had a consistent lead over the Heat even without star big man Kevin Garnett. Celtics forward Jeff Green had an astounding game, totaling 14 points and four rebounds in just the first quarter and 43 points by game’s end. Yet, ultimately, the Heat still prevailed.
Even though the Celtics appeared to be in control of the lead for most of the game, Miami seemed to own the basketball by the end of the fourth quarter. LeBron James sealed the game with 10 seconds left on the clock when he threw up a beautiful 21-footer.
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