9 Reasons The Heat Won’t Win The NBA Championship
In case you were wondering, the working title for this piece was much simpler. It was called “9 Lies.” But we went with a less direct title. The Heat are looking pretty strong, Monday’s anomaly aside. But seeing as how they’re a widely reviled, heavily favored team, we owe it to ourselves to put on a brave face and find fault with Lebron, Wade, and, to a much lesser extent, Bosh and the others.
Remember, as George Costanza always said: “It’s not a lie…if you believe it.”
The Heat’s performance this season clearly speaks for itself. They've dominated the league. There’s really no other way to say it. And while that is hard to spin as a strike against the Heat, I think we can do it nonetheless. Here goes: Having turned the regular season into a pleasure cruise, the star-studded Heat aren't exactly adept in overcoming adversity. In past years, they’d had the pressure of expectations upon them, but this season has been like a Swedish massage for the big three and co. So, when a team, even one as wounded as the Bulls, manages to draw first blood, two things could happen. First off, the Heat could completely derail and lose the series. Not likely, but possible. Secondly, and more likely, they’re going to tough it out, but not without a lot of stress and second-guessing, both internally and from the media. And they’re not a team that’s built for that. It may not cost them the series, but it will fester over the course of the playoffs, and the Heat are a long way from raising that trophy.
9. Being Down 0-1 Against The Bulls Is A Big Obstacle
Sure, given the choice, you’d like to take down every series in four games, much like the Heat did against the Bucks in round one. However, from a strategic perspective, the four-and-out approach fosters the sort of upsets we saw on Monday night at American Airlines Arena. The Heat are a finely-tuned basketball machine, but the smallest grain of sand can upset such a machine, and taking eight days off between playoff games is sure to create problems upon a team’s return. It might not be the death knell of the Heat, but when you factor in some of the other reasons on this list, these things have a way of snowballing, especially when dealing with the fragile egos in South Beach.
8. Sweeping Teams Isn’t Always The Best Way To Roll Through The Playoffs
There’s no arguing that the Heat are the favorites to win. But the course of the postseason has a way of equalizing teams with the induction of stress, injuries, and just general fatigue. The Heat were an easy lot to pick coming out number one in the regular season, but there’s a limit to how long a team can fire on all eight cylinders, and I wouldn't have guessed that the Heat would have made it this far. So assuming they get a chance to go against the other juggernauts (and, yes, I’m aware that the Knicks have dropped a game to Indiana), it’s remiss to pick the Heat against the field. The Heat rolled into the playoffs on top, and everyone in their way is going to fight tooth and nail to knock them off, and statistically, it’s gonna happen.
7. New York, San Antonio, and OKC
LeBron James, despite owning the MVP ballots and the rest of the league from a statistical standpoint, has never maintained the killer instinct that his peers in the league have. Which is why he’s walking around with four MVP awards and just one trophy. Sure, under optimal circumstances, LeBron can rely on his gifted athleticism to own the situation, but when the going gets tough, LeBron tends to regress to the emotional age of a toddler. Since the big three have been assembled, the common criticism was that there is a vacuum of leadership in Miami, and when your de facto alpha dog (LBJ) isn't twisting the knife or putting on a game face, the rest of the squad is unlikely to follow suit. And nice guys don’t win championships.
6. The Heat Are Not, Nor Have Ever Been, Clutch
While it’s crazy to say that injuries help a team, there comes with them a certain amount of desperation and resolve that a team like, say, oh, I don’t know, the Miami Heat just don’t know anything about. While the didn't drop more than one game to any other team in the league, Chicago’s now taken Goliath down twice. While losing twice to a team in three months doesn't really mean much (except maybe in the NFL), when you parlay this with points 6 and 9, you get the surprising but palpable feeling that the Heat are the ones with their back against the wall here, not the Bulls.
5. Chicago Has Been Primed To Knock Off The Heat
Again, it’s hard to pick apart a team with a pedigree such as the Heat, so it seems a little disingenuous to assert that their success and good health is an omen of bad things to come, but… It totally is. Dwyane Wade isn't a tank. He’s a Fiat. Convertible. Color? Mint. As such, his best course of action is to make it through the playoffs in as few games as possible, which, as I so eloquently demonstrated in point number 8, isn't always the best way to go about things, as referenced in point 6. (I understand that a lot of these points are predicated on other points, but when you’re tasked with defending a thesis like "9 Reasons Why The Heat Won’t Win The NBA Championship," you have to get a little creative.)
4. Dwyane Wade Just Isn’t Built To Last
No, Nate Robinson is historically nowhere near an LBJ or Dwyane Wade, but for this playoff series, it’s hard not to dust off those pedestals normally reserved for flavors of the month such as Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow. Well, the month is May, and the flavor is a bloody-mouthed, triple-double teetering Nate Robinson, a player who, until this run, was best known for being really short and jumping over players in idiotic fashion during the dunk contest. Well, Nate’s all grown up. Perhaps so much so that we should start calling him Nathan. And the Heat should call him their worst enemy.
3. NATE ROBINSON
OK. This is the part of the list where the argument gets a little thin. There really aren't NINE reasons why the Heat won’t win. There are like maybe four. Five if biomedical technology advances to the point that doctors are able to heal Russell Westbrook’s meniscus tear before the conference finals. So with that in mind, let’s just turn these last two into a total bitch session about the Heat, shall we? Their fans are the worst. I mean, what’s with that white-out thing they do at their home games? Is that supposed to be intimidating? It’s not. It’s like playing playoff basketball in a cloud, which actually sounds really nice. And what’s worse is how the fans refuse to admit that their front office got a syndicate of egomaniacal players to conspire to pay cuts so that they could play with their talented friends so they never are really forced to play up to their potential. It’s just impossible to say that the LeBron James Heat fans root for is the same LeBron James that Cavs fans rooted for. Try it. Try to say it. You can’t. Your tongue went slack and you've got drool all over your shirt. Official #2 Reason: The Heat don’t have a shooter to match the abundance of shooters on other teams. Sure, LeBron and Wade are talented scorers, but nothing can pull the rug out from under you like a tour de force performance from Curry, Anthony, or even Nathaniel Robinson.
2. Miami Fans Are The Worst
Seriously, that’s the most likely thing keeping the Heat from winning the championship. I’m not happy about it either.