The Miami Heat are now 3-2 following their first road victory of the season, a 104-95 win over the Toronto Raptors where Chris Bosh stayed home to attend to his newborn child, while LeBron James picked up the slack and dropped 35 points, eight assists and eight rebounds in 36 minutes' worth of action.
It's been an intriguing first week for the Heat. They started off with a dominant effort in the season-opening victory over the Chicago Bulls where they held a double-digit lead throughout, only to drop consecutive road games against the upstart Philadelphia 76ers and an inspired Brooklyn Nets club.
Miami's other win came by way of a relatively easy 10-point victory over the Washington Wizards at home. The victory over Washington prevented the Heat's first three-game losing streak since January 2012 and kept the Heat above .500, away from the unfamiliar territory they faced after the loss to the Nets.
It was the first time since the very first game of the Big Three era where the Heat were under .500. It's safe to say the Heat didn't enjoy the feeling too much, as they made short work of Washington before moving on and handling business against a Raptors team that failed to impose its will in the paint for longer than a quarter.
But that's what the Miami Heat do. They make opponents uncomfortable. They play with a controlled panic on defense that forces the opposition into wayward passes and low-percentage jumpers, leading to the patented fast breaks that instill fear into the hearts of the unlucky players who are unfortunate enough to be on the opposite end of those highlights.
While the first week was rough, the team still learned a lot. The Heat–once again—recognize that they can't take opponents lightly, as seen in their hapless defensive effort against Philadelphia, and continue to realize that they need to play the entirety of the game in order to put opponents away.
Every Heat opponent besides the Nets have staged a late-game comeback to either threaten Miami or even steal away a victory. It's the type of play you've come to expect from the Heat in the early months of the season. They recognize the insignificance of these games, and they treat them as such, once again putting the regular season's importance on the backburner.
And, yet, the Heat will end up winning at least 60 games and make another NBA Finals. But let's not get too ahead of ourselves. Instead, let's take a look at three positive observations from the first week of Heat basketball.