Miami Heat: Defense Is Most Important for NBA Championship

Mark LeskoCorrespondent IIDecember 14, 2010

MIAMI - APRIL 25:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat hits his arm on the rim as he goes up to block a shot attempt by Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at American Airlines Arena on April 25, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Heat defeated the Hawks 107-78. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Yes. We. Did.

When Heat fans launched that phrase, it was referring to the excitement surrounding the offensive firepower the Heat had just signed in Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh. But all that firepower means nothing if this team does not play defense.

Look no further than last night's game against the New Orleans Hornets. The Heat's defense was struggling, giving up wide open looks and committing foul after foul on every dribble drive to the basket.

Then at the end of the third quarter, the Heat ramped up the defense and went on a 20-4 run to bust open what was a back-and-forth game. The Heat held the Hornets to only nine points in the fourth quarter.

The way this team is built, it serves it best to play great defense, rebound, then get out in transition. Coach Spoelstra even mentioned that in his press conference, "Our best opportunities are in the open court to get our attackers at the rim, but it also helps with our state of mind, our balance and rhythm. When we get easy opportunities in the open court, I think it helps our half-court offense as well."

Just look back at recent history. When people think of the Los Angeles Lakers, they think of the offensive skills of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.

But the Lakers won last season's championship with their defense.

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In the seven game NBA Finals series with the Boston Celtics, 100 points was only reached twice.

When Boston got its "Big 3," people were excited about the offensive potential. However, it was the Boston defense that was the main reason for the 2007-2008 NBA Championship.

As fun as it is to look at the Heat's box-score, it is the things that are not in there that are going to make this team a true championship contender.

Drawing charges (James Jones leads the team), running out at shooters, and getting hands on passes are the true winning formula for this team. The offense will be there, but championship caliber defense will make the offense even easier.

With the talent this team has, an easier offense is a scary scenario for the opposing teams.

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