11 Games That Will Derail Miami Heat's Chances at 72 Wins
This article is courtesy of Rip City Report
This new-look Miami Heat team is going to be something else. Like nothing we have ever seen before in this era of NBA basketball.
The combination of three multi-year All-Stars, MVPs, and...well, overall superstars, is going to have a drastic effect on the win totals.
So how many games will they win? Well, Jeff Van Gundy has this particular team breaking the Chicago Bulls record win totals.
So will they? I don't think so.
Here is a list of 11 games that will keep the Miami Heat from making history.
Thank you for reading!
This article is courtesy of Rip City Report
Opening Night in Boston, October 26th
It has been said since the trio was formed. Their most pressing issue will be hitting their groove early.
They need to find out how to play with one another and figure it out fast.
Maybe it isn't even that they need to learn to play together, because they already have.
But more so that they have to work out the scoring options.
Who's going to take the last shot?
Who's the ball going to late in the clock?
How are you going to give both Wade and LeBron (both players expected to make something happen with the ball in their hands) enough touches, while making sure you allow Bosh some time with his back to the basket?
Maybe we are making too much of this, but we have never seen anything like this.
Therefore, we are rightly skeptical.
Boston is a tough opponent.
But at Boston on opening night, when you are still lacking chemistry between the 10 new players on your team, and you are on the road is a completely different test.
This game will be a huge indicator as to how quickly the trio will gel.
But for now, I have them losing on opening night.
Heat Record: 0-1
November 24th in Orlando
When you build a team around three players, especially three max contract guys, you are going to have some holes in your roster.
In the Heat's case, some big, gaping holes.
Miami has no depth and very few serviceable big men.
Not to mention their weak point guard situation.
The Orlando Magic have built their team around Superman.
Well, of course that sounds pretty good, but Dwight Howard has a lot of work to do before he can be considered a first option on offense.
Nonetheless, the Miami Heat do not have an answer for him.
They will try to but Big Z on him.
Then they will put Bosh on him, in which case the Magic will punish you with Rashard Lewis.
Jamaal Magloire and even Dexter Pittman could be sent to hack on Howard, but it is very unlikely that anyone will stop him.
Bosh is their best bet.
Or maybe it's Big Z because of his height.
But what the Heat cannot afford is for Bosh to get into foul trouble.
On any night.
The Magic may play the Spurs in San Antonio two days before, but they will have one day to rest and travel.
Fatigue shouldn't be an issue in November.
Look for the Heat to start the season 13-2.
And for Heat fans to be oddly disappointed that they won't be running the table.
Heat Record: 13-2
December 8th on the Road Against the Utah Jazz
Energy Solutions Arena is a very difficult place to play.
It always is.
No matter which team the Utah Jazz put out on the floor, the fans always come out in droves to support Salt Lake's one and only professional sports franchise.
The problem does lie within the Jazz's roster this season.
They lost a 20 points and 10 rebounds guy in Carlos Boozer, lost their best three-point shooter with Kyle Korver, and then had to give up their best defender to the Portland Trail Blazers in Wesley Matthews.
It has been a rough offseason for Jazz fans to swallow.
But on a good note, they gained a steady, hard-nosed stopper by signing Raja Bell to replace Matthews, gained a less defensive-minded replacement for Boozer in Al Jefferson (who averages 18 points and nine rebounds), and then drafted a sharpshooter with Gordon Hayward.
Overall, it was a poor offseason, but it wasn't a complete loss.
So when the Heat come to Salt Lake to play the new-look Utah Jazz, they will still have to face Deron Williams.
Paul Millsap is still on the team and so is Okur.
The Jazz are still a good team.
I see the Heat dropping this game because they don't have anyone to stop or slow down Williams, while the Jazz have the defensive options to slow down all three of Miami's super trio.
Heat Record: 20-3
December 25th at the Los Angeles Lakers
The Miami Heat will be on an absolute tear at this point, with a record of 28-3 before this game.
But they will drop this game for three reasons.
1) The Los Angeles Lakers are still the best team in the league.
2) They have big man depth to handle Chris Bosh, defensive stoppers to slow LeBron and Wade (i.e. Barnes, Artest, Kobe Bryant) and the Lakers have point guards who can take advantage of Miami's lack of talent at that position.
3) The Lakers have four days to prepare for a big game. Four days to game plan their defense. Four days to rest.
And four days to relieve Andrew Bynum of any ailments he may have.
The Heat will have difficulty playing the three-peat hopefuls all season, but in this contest, the Lakers will get the better of the Heat.
Heat Record: 28-4
December 29th on the Road Against the Rockets
Yao Ming is the big factor here.
The Rockets without Yao stand no chance to the Heat.
Without Yao, the Rockets are nothing more than lottery pick hopefuls.
With Yao, the Rockets are a team full of mismatches.
Starting with Aaron Brooks, the lightning fast point guard out of Oregon. There are very few teams in the new era of NBA basketball that have a defender speedy enough to keep up with a quick point guard.
Brooks causes problems for everyone. But without Yao, teams tend to focus their attention on slowing him down, making him less efficient.
Then there is Kevin Martin. A 20 points a game guy who also happens to be 6'7".
Much bigger than the average shooting guard and much bigger than Dwayne Wade.
Trevor Ariza doesn't serve as a mismatch, but more of a punishment if the other team decides to put a weaker player on him in order to cover up another mismatch.
Ariza can score the ball, as well as defend just about any player in the league.
Defending is very valuable when you are playing the Heat.
The Rockets also have depth with their big men, not including Yao, to slow down Chris Bosh.
But don't expect the Rockets to go anywhere without Yao.
I expect the Rockets to have him, allowing them to win this one, handing the Heat two losses in three games.
Heat Record: 29-5
January 9th on the Road Against the Portland Trail Blazers
The Rose Garden is another difficult place to play, but unlike the Jazz, the Portland Trail Blazers have gotten better, rather than worse.
The Blazers were very promising last season, but fell prey to the injury bug like nothing I have ever seen before.
They lost both centers before the end of December, lost their star Brandon Roy for 20 games, and well...to make this short, the only players who played in every game were Andre Miller (still the NBA's iron man) and Martell Webster (traded to the Timberwolves).
It was brutal.
But now, after months of rest and recovery, the Portland Trail Blazers are set to open eyes across the nation.
They won 50 games last season.
They also added Marcus Camby, Wesley Matthews, Luke Babbitt, Armon Johnson, and Elliott Williams.
Not a huge offseason considering they were chasing Chris Paul.
And now that New Orleans has killed that deal, Blazers fans are feeling that this offseason is just a lost cause.
Now we are just sitting around, waiting for Rudy Fernandez to be traded to the Chicago Bulls.
So what's next? Well, after Rudy being traded...nothing.
So this is the roster the Portland Trail Blazers will use to take on the Miami Heat on January 9th.
What the Trail Blazers have going for them is their depth in the frontcourt and the array of defensive stoppers they have at their disposal.
First, each of their big men deserve to be starters.
Joel Przybilla, Greg Oden, and Marcus Camby have all seen very long stretches in their career in which they have started.
Each player will be important to beating the Heat.
We cannot forget about LaMarcus Aldridge either. He will be given the assignment of Bosh right off the bat.
The other two assignments that will be vitally important is slowing down LeBron James and Dwayne Wade (obviously).
The Blazers have two proven perimeter defenders to cover those two and Brandon Roy whenever they need help.
Both Nic Batum and Wesley Matthews have been trusted with guarding the best players in the biggest games.
The likes of Kobe, Carmelo, LeBron, Wade, along with other NBA stars have been slowed down by either of the two.
But the most important piece of the puzzle will be how healthy Greg Oden is by the time the Blazers play the Heat.
(But since I am out in the open in saying Greg Oden will play in 65 games next season, I think he will be healthy come January).
Either way, this will stand to be a difficult contest for the Heat, but Oden will be the X-factor that could tip the scale either way.
Heat Record: 33-6
January 13th on the Second of a Back-to-Back Against the Denver Nuggets
The Heat will go through a rough patch from early January through late January.
If you can even call a month in which you only lose around three games in a single month a bad month.
But in reality, the Heat will play five games on the road against four teams that made the playoffs the year before.
Starting off the trip in Milwaukee, the Heat should win .
Then they move on to Portland, a game in which I have them losing.
After that, they play game one of a back-to-back against the Clippers, and even though I acknowledge LA's improvement with the addition of Blake Griffin, they will not lose this game.
The second of a back-to-back is against the Denver Nuggets.
This is a game I see them losing due to the strength of the competition and the difficulty and frequency of that competition.
They will be on the second-to-last game of a five-game road trip against four different playoff teams.
The Heat will focus their attention on Carmelo, but they don't really have an answer for Chauncey Billups.
I see the Nuggets offense overwhelming Miami's defense and overpowering Miami's powerful offense on this night.
Heat Record: 34-7
January 15th on the Road Against the Chicago Bulls
The day after losing the second game of a back-to-back against the Denver Nuggets, they will rest.
But the day after, they will play another difficult contest against the much-improved Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls will prove to be difficult competition for the Heat because of their offensive balance and Miami's recent string of difficult contests.
The Heat are going to have tired legs and the Bulls like to play an uptempo game.
Derrick Rose is a mismatch for Miami's roster, although they may choose to move Wade over to guard Rose.
If they do, I see Kyle Korver having a big game because the Heat's lack of size in their backcourt.
LeBron James will be a difficult matchup for the Bulls, one they will not be able to stop. But I don't see that overwhelming the Bulls, at least on this particular night.
If Boozer is able to stop Bosh and Wade is at least marginally contained, the Bulls shouldn't have to worry about LeBron going off.
The Heat could get the best of the Bulls, but on this occasion, I just don't see it happening.
This will be the only time in the 2010-2011 campaign that the Miami Heat lose two in a row.
Heat Record: 34-8
March 4th at San Antonio
At the beginning of a difficult stretch, the Miami Heat will play the San Antonio Spurs.
At this time, Popovich should be giving his starters more minutes and they will be gearing up for a late season playoff run.
Miami should be in the same mode too.
The Heat will drop this contest because the Spurs have talent and this will be the second game of a back-to-back.
Banking on Tim Duncan and company being healthy, the Spurs have a good opportunity to come out winners.
Heat Record: 53-9
March 10th at Home Against the Los Angeles Lakers
From early to mid May, the Miami Heat will have a very difficult schedule.
They start off the month playing the Orlando Magic and then they play at San Antonio.
After that, the Heat have a six-game homestand against six different potential playoff teams.
Starting with the Chicago Bulls, then the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Spurs, and Thunder.
I have them dropping the March 10th game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers will also be on a road trip, but it won't be nearly as difficult as Miami's homestand. The Lakers will play four teams, each game with a day of rest in between.
They play the Spurs, Hawks, Heat, and Mavericks.
Still difficult, but not as difficult as Miami's homestand.
The Lakers, as well as the Heat, should be starting up their playoff motors, or at least priming the engines around that time.
I have the Lakers coming out victorious because of the talent in their frontcourt and their array of defensive stoppers.
Not to mention the difficult games that the Heat will play prior to the Lakers matchup.
Heat Record: 55-10
March 19th at Home Against the Denver Nuggets
The Miami Heat may only lose about twice every month, but they will lose twice to the Denver Nuggets.
On this occasion, they will lose at home after playing in Atlanta the night before.
The second of a back-to-back is always difficult, but it is not completely out of the ordinary in the NBA today.
The most difficult part of this back-to-back is playing two very good teams in a row.
Both Atlanta and Denver will be playoff teams next year and will be strong players in their respective conferences.
In terms of the Miami Heat playing the Denver Nuggets, the same factors will apply as last time.
The Heat will be forced to focus their attention on Carmelo and Billups. Either they have Chalmers guard Billups face up, or they move Wade over to cover him.
In that case, JR Smith will have a field day.
If the Heat decide that Chalmers can guard Billups, then Chauncey will have a field day.
It's a game of pick your poison for the Heat.
As will it be for the Nuggets.
Denver will have to decide whether or not they want to guard LeBron, Wade, and Bosh straight up, or if they want to play a zone (which I think would be a terrible thing to do).
Chances are, they will play man to man. Billups may need to swing over to cover Wade, but that wouldn't be that big of an issue since the Nuggets already have good size in their backcourt.
Carmelo could guard LeBron, but who knows how successful that would be.
Bosh would be covered by a variety of players.
Nene, Al Harrington, Chris Anderson, and Kenyon Martin would all be possible matchups for the All-Star power forward.
I just hope that one of those would be able to slow down Chris Bosh.
The Nuggets come out victorious.
Heat Record: 59-11
This Article Courtesy Of Rip City Report
The Heat will end the season with a record of 71-11 at best.
I could see them easily dropping games that they were supposed to win and winning games that I have them losing.
That is just how the NBA works, things happen.
If one of the super trio falls prey to injury, especially a major one, I would be surprised to see the Heat win 60 games.
If one superstar goes down, this entire empire could crumble.
With a lack of depth and secondary options, the Heat cannot afford to lose nearly a fourth of their offense.
If each player is going to average 25 points a game, then that makes up 75 points a game.
If they average 100 points a game, then that means the rest of the roster will need to come up with another 25 points.
If one of the superstars goes down, the other two superstars will give their team around 60 points, with around nine more from the superstar's replacement.
Suddenly, the team could drop their scoring average by 15 to 20 points.
Signing three big players can have a huge impact on the team, but having one little injury can completely derail anything you are trying to do.
That is how important health is to this Miami Heat team.
It's suddenly a game of don't get hurt.
The Miami Heat win over 65 games if they stay healthy and if not...well, stay tuned.
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This article is courtesy of Rip City Report
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