Miami Heat's Final Regular-Season Tune-Up Proves They're Ready for Title Push
There's no doubt about it: These guys look championship-ready.
What's scary is that they've started to clog some of the leaks—not that there were many to begin with.
The supporting cast is providing Miami with strong support. Against the Bulls, Mike Miller went 3-of-4 from downtown and Mario Chalmers went for 15 points and five dimes.
But the big story is Chris Anderson, whom the Heat added midseason to help man the 5 position. This was a position the team was struggling to get production from, but it now has a true center capable of contributing valuable minutes.
Anderson scored 15 points and grabbed seven boards in only 15 minutes against Chicago. He's an active two-way body in the middle that Miami never had. He's made the Heat tougher to score on inside while getting Miami easy buckets at the rim.
Check out this display of athleticism by Anderson. The Heat weren't getting any of this from Chris Bosh or Joel Anthony:
With the Heat's role players contributing and the Big Three intact, opposing teams' best strategy might be to cross their fingers.
Dwyane Wade returned after missing a few games and looked awfully good against Chicago, scoring an effortless 22 points on 7-of-12 from the floor. And LeBron James, of course, is playing on a level we've never seen. It's almost weird to see him miss at this point.
Miami has now won 35 of its last 37 games with the playoffs just around the corner. It's been one of the great runs in NBA history, and it doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon.
The Heat will get the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 1 and will likely face the winner of Brooklyn and Atlanta in Round 2. And with the way they're playing now, it would be hard to imagine them getting to Round 3 playing more than eight playoff games prior.
You know what you're going to get from Wade, James and Bosh. As long as the role players continue finishing their scoring opportunities and staying active on both ends, the first few rounds of the playoffs should be a walk in the park.
Right now, the Heat are the clear favorite to repeat as champions, and they will be entering the playoffs playing their best basketball since the core of the roster was assembled in 2010.
Here are the highlights from the Bulls-Heat game that Miami won, 105-93:
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