Lebron James and Chris Bosh made their Miami Heat debut alongside Dwayne Wade on Tuesday, October 26, a date that basketball fans will forever remember as the day a nation overreacted to the Heat's "catastrophic" loss to the Boston Celtics in their regular season opener. But, in the immortal words of Arnold "The Ice Man" Schwarzenegger, "Everybody Chill."
The Heat scored only nine points in the first quarter, and they trailed 45-30 at halftime. They shot .363 from the field, and Lebron and Wade had 15 turnovers between them. Yet they were only down by three points with less than a minute to play.
The Team's Bounce Back Ability
The Heat scored 50 points in the second half, and despite playing horrendously, They were in the game right up until the end. The very next night, the Heat exploded on the Philadelphia 76ers in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the 97-87 final score. At one point, the Heat was up by nearly 30 points in this game.
After playing so sluggishly in the first game, the Heat bounced back in their second game. Even in the second half of the first game, the Heat started playing better. After D-Wade had just 13 points in the Boston game, he bounced back with 30 against the 76ers Wednesday night.
If there is one thing we know about this team, it's that they have enough talent for even a star player to have a bad night and still get a win. Lebron had 16 points against the 76ers to go with his eight turnovers, yet Wade bailed him out dropping 30 points, getting seven rebounds and grabbing three steals.
The Heat are also shooting .444 as a team from three point range. They're yet to give up more than 88 points, and as of now they seem to have the ability to beat teams in many different ways.
The Talent and Experience
Heat forward James Jones has a career .396 three point percentage. Guard Eddie House shoots .390 behind the arc, and he has a championship. Forward Mike Miller is a .405 lifetime three point shooter.
Chris Bosh averages 20 plus points and nine plus rebounds. James averages 27.8 points, 6.9 assists and seven rebounds. Wade averages 25.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game, and all three were All-Stars last season.
On top of all of that, there are only two players on the active roster with less than seven years of NBA experience. The Heat also have 35-year-old center Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
The Puppet Master
The Heat general manager Pat Riley has built, managed and coached multiple championship teams in his career. He was the brains behind the showtime Lakers of the 80s, and he built and coached the Heat's only Championship team in the 2006-2007 season. That team wasn't as talented as this Heat team, and it wasn't even considered a legitimate contender until they actually won the trophy.
Most importantly is recent history. Out of the last five seasons, only one championship team—the 2007-2008 Boston Celtics—started 2-0. In fact, the first of the current back-to-back champion Los Angeles Lakers two championships started with an 0-2 beginning in the 2008-2009 season.
The Boston Celtics won with a team on which more than half of the players were brought in that offseason. The "lack of playing time together" argument doesn't really hold water if you look at history.
The Bottom Line
This Miami Heat team is going to be the most heavily scrutinized group in NBA history. Before they even had a full roster, analysts were already proposing the possibility of them winning 70 plus games and breaking the seemingly unattainable record held by Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls.
Every win they get will be expected, and every loss will be held up for ridicule, and it's to be expected. After all, these stars aligned for the singular goal of wining a championship. Anything less will be unacceptable.
There are 80 more games to play, and this team is one of the best teams in the NBA from a talent standpoint. The Lakers are still the defending champs, which makes them the favorite. In the Eastern Conference, it's a three horse race right now, and the Heat are in the running.
It's going to come down to the Magic, the Celtics and the Miami Heat. There are going to be many twists and turns in the road to the playoffs, but one thing is certain. The Heat will be hugging the corners with the leaders of the pack.