As most of the world saw on Christmas Day, the Miami Heat are playing as a team finally. Despite the comments of Erik Spoelstra not being adequate enough to coach the caliber of talent on the team, the players rose to the occasion and proved that with sufficient practice and cooperation they can be an elite team in the league. When you have three all-star players on one team that have never played together before, it's going to take time to establish a method for sharing the basketball. For the Heat, it took a little bit longer than analysts expected, but now we see with that chink in the chain fixed, winning a championship is nothing less than likely for them.
Heat GM Pat Riley is a genius. If the GM of the Year award isn't already at his house I would be surprised. He managed to bring together three of the best players in the league for the past several years without giving up much of anything. And despite all of their numbers being down this year while incorporating the idea of sharing into their brains, Lebron still averages 25.9 points, Wade totals 25.1 and Bosh cleans up with 18.6. Now with all this talk about the Heat, let's talk about the Lakers. The Heat now have the advantage of knowing that the Lakers can't stop all three players at once. When James is covered swing it to Wade, and when he drives to the basket, look, Bosh is left all alone. The relentless worry for defenses of which star is going to be left alone makes it increasingly challenging to stop the Heat.
Regardless of everything previously stated, the biggest obstacle for the Lakers to go further in the playoffs than the Heat, is the strength of the Western Conference. The Lakers would be tasked with taking down potentially Carmelo and the Denver Nuggets, Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and then top-seeded San Antonio. On top of all that, if they made it to the finals, beating the Heat, who I'm confident can get through the Eastern Conference playoffs, would be a miracle story almost as great as the US hockey team beating Russia in the Olympics. Not to say it can't be done, but a tad bit unlikely. As an understandable fan I will admit if any team is capable of this feat, it is the Lakers.
Fans should be excited to see how things pan out and the seeds teams will fall into for the conference playoffs. With the Heat and Lakers having almost identical records now, at 31-13 for the Heat and 32-13 for the Lakers, only time will tell who will run the table. Despite this most likely not being an MVP season for Lebron or Kobe, it will continue to be controversial regarding which team is better and will win it all. Or neither team!
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