Miami Heat: 4 Quick Lessons We've Learned from the First Game of the Season
Tonight saw the South Beach Superteam era start on the road against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Celtics and fall 80-88.
Dwayne Wade didn't quite look himself tonight, nor did Chris Bosh, but what, if anything can we take away in our quest to learn the genetic makeup of the Heat?
Find out here.
Inside are four quick things we've learned about the Heat tonight.
1) The Whole is Not Inherently Greater Than the Sum of its Parts
All the pundits and fans who thought that the mere presence of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh would assure instant success were proven wrong tonight, and it's back to the drawing board.
For virtually their entire time on the floor tonight, the NBA’s newest “Big Three” looked out of place and completely out of sync.
Chris Bosh was anything but productive in his first official game as a third option. He did manage to grab a couple of rebounds but took out of rhythm jump shots that clanked off the rim more often than they found the net.
Dwayne Wade, injury hampered as he may be, looked more like a role player than an MVP candidate.
He finished with a ghastly 4-16 shooting, two of his shots clanged off the side of the backboard, and the three-pointer he knocked down with 1:28 to go in the fourth (cutting the Celtic lead to 6) was his only significant contribution to the game,
It took LeBron James an entire half to look like LeBron James. There’s no question that James was the most dominant player in the game, finishing with 31 points on 10-for-21 shooting, but he struggled mightily to get any kind of offense going early.
When James finally did start rolling, Boston was in a perfect rhythm and refused to relinquish their lead.
Despite his overall solid performance, James was not able to create offense for his teammates, turned the ball over 8 times and only pulled down four rebounds—half of his average from last season.
It's safe to say that none of the Heat’s top three players looked quite like themselves tonight.
2) No Set Plan of Attack
It's no secret that the Celtics are one of the best defensive teams in the league, arguably of the last decade or more, but for James and Wade to combine for 14 of their team’s total 17 turnovers is unacceptable.
The majority of the duo’s turnovers came from attempting to force passes in an offense with poor spacing and minimal offensive movement. For the majority of the game, the Heat’s stagnant offense looked reminiscent of the 2004-10 Cavaliers, waiting for James to create a play.
The game plan itself was thoroughly flawed in either conception—execution or both.
Besides James, who simply took control for much of the second half and a few good looks for Eddie House from beyond the arc, none of the Heat seemed to take shots either in the flow of their offense or in their individual comfort zones.
Case in point: James shot a respectable 47 percent from the floor, but the Heat combined for on only 36 percent of their shots on the floor.
3) Neither Extreme Is Accurate
Thankfully, no reputed sources claimed the Heat could make a legitimate run at an impossible record of 82-0, but it didn’t prevent some rabid fans from actually filling up various blogs and chatrooms with such nonsense.
Well, that’s over.
Pretty anti-climactic too, at least for my tastes. But hey, it's not like the other extreme is much better.
Some outlandish predictions have the Heat as low as the fourth or fifth seed in the East; expect those notions to be laid to rest every bit as soundly.
As the Heat showed tonight, they are not without their weaknesses. They showed absolutely no offensive post-presence tonight and didn’t offer spectacular post defense either.
Worse, they still haven’t figured each other out.
With all that said, they still only lost by eight points. After being down by as many as 19 to the angriest team in the league on their own home floor, they managed to cut the deficit to four before the Celtics pulled away on a few late jumpers.
Soak all of that in.
The only member of the Heat to play well tonight was James; the roster is still largely unfamiliar with each other, and they only lost by eight.
4) The Target on Miami’s Back Is Red Hot
The Heat can expect to come across similar effort until at least one of the Big Three decides to take their talents elsewhere.
Though they may not have accomplished anything yet, with the level of focus and desire they can expect from their opponents, they may as well be world champions.
After all, no one outside of Miami wanted to see the Big Three happen.
Other elite teams are angry that they’ve been pushed out of the spotlight. Irrelevant teams are angry that they’ve suddenly become even more irrelevant.
Everyone in between just wants to make a name for themselves.
Expect Miami to work out their internal problems quickly but realize that nights like this that include playoff-like crowds, physical defense and an extra level of effort will be the norm for anyone facing the team everyone loves to hate.