Blueprint for Miami Heat to Exceed Expectations During 2013-14 Season

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Blueprint for Miami Heat to Exceed Expectations During 2013-14 Season
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Can the Heat meet the slightly unrealistic expectations that they'll face next season?

"Great Expectations" could have been the Miami Heat's theme once LeBron James and Chris Bosh arrived, but with three NBA Finals appearances and two championships, it's almost time to hang up the "Mission Accomplished" banner.

While the Heat are the early favorites to capture the 2014 title, according to Las Vegas sportsbooks, there's a very strong probability that Miami won't be able to pull off the hat trick. The "three-peats" pulled off by the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s (and later by the Los Angeles Lakers in the following decade) are the exception rather than the rule: Winning three straight Larry O'Brien Trophies is a hard thing to do.

And with that knowledge, the expectations for Miami this year can (and will) be scaled down a bit. James turned the Heat into Public Enemy No. 1 as a result of his post-Decision boast of "not one, not two..." titles. Yet after taking home the crown in both 2012 and 2013, there will be a little less vitriol aimed in his (and his team's) direction if Miami is forced to abdicate the throne next June.

There is also a very reasonable chance that the Heat can prove the doubters wrong and hold their third championship parade in as many years. To do so, they'll have to follow a very specific blueprint...or hope that James can single-handedly lead the team to glory.

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