ESPN commentator Mark Jackson once said that the only thing that matters in the NBA is the next play. As soon as one game is over, teams prepare for the next one with a totally different mindset and the tenor of every game is different.
Well, welcome Miami Heat fans and haters to why those words are so relevant.
Coming off their "inspiring" victory over the "much hyped" Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics rolled into Cleveland with thoughts of going 2-0. It shouldn't have been a problem right? They just proved that they were the best team in the East by winning one home game, so playing against a Cleveland team minus Mo Williams should have been a breeze.
J.J. Hickson lights up Kevin Garnett for 21 points on 8-11 shooting? Wasn't he coming off the bench last year? Ray Allen only shot 4-13 and scored 12 points after his 21 point outing against the Heat? Well, certainly Rajon Rondo dominated right? He's the best point guard in the NBA and he and his cohorts just gave the league a clinic on the importance of great point guard play against the Heat. Surely, he dominated. Well, statistically speaking, he did. 18 points and 9 assists. But when Paul Pierce goes 5-12 and scores 13, losses like this will happen for the Celtics.
On the other side of the coin, following 24 hours of non-stop "The Heat are overrated" chants and hopes that the first game of the season will somehow be more than enough evidence that the Heat are set for a demoralizing ousting in the playoffs, they respond in Philadelphia by winning 97-87.
Dwyane Wade as expected recovered from his horrible shooting night against Boston and scored 30 points on 10-20 shooting. Meanwhile, Lebron James and Chris Bosh chipped in 16 and 15 points respectively. The Heat also got a 20 points from James Jones off their "terrible" bench.
I bring this up to illustrate the flaw in making rash judgements this early in the season. After all the talk about "what's wrong with the Heat," you look at the standings right now and both the Heat and the Celtics are 1-1.
This is why I didn't understand the doom-and-gloom predictions of a Heat demise after yesterday's loss.
I knew the Heat would respond.
The point is that both the Celtics and the Heat are solid teams and they will both get better as the season progresses.
However, assuming that we can learn anything about the rest of the season based on two games, is as asinine as assuming that a team cannot advance to the finals without the home-court in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the playoffs.
As LeBron James said calmly after the Celtics beat the Heat 88-80 the previous night: "Rome wasn't built in a day."
But sometimes when extreme judgements are made only one game into the season, they really cloud and devalue legitimate sports debate.