A realist would come to the conclusion that these two wins in a row aren’t something to begin crowing about. A Miami fan says to themselves there’s a little bit of hope things are beginning to come together as planned. As my previous article stated, only time will tell whether the realist or the fan is drawing the right conclusions from the evidence.
Beating the lowly Wizards on Monday, 105-94, was to be expected. Miami had beaten Washington seven out of their last eight games coming into the contest, and the Heat and Dwyane Wade had used them as their own personal punching bag the past two seasons.
Add to that the fact Washington was 0-7 on the road this year prior to the match and were without No. 1 draft pick John Wall, and it’s easy to see why no one, including Miami Heat fans, should be looking at the win as a real harbinger of great things to come for the boys from South Beach.
That being said, it was really nice to see the “Three Kings” play as well as they did, as LeBron James had 30 points, Wade chipped in with 26, and Chris Bosh rang up 20 on the night.
Coming into Wednesday’s game, much of the focus wasn’t even on the Heat’s opponent, the Detroit Pistons, but rather on peripheral issues like Dan Gilbert’s obsessive, and I believe ridiculously fruitless, efforts to try and spur an investigation into tampering between the Heat and James.
That didn’t stop Miami and its players from ignoring the foolishness, including another pathetic piece of yellow-journalism from Adrian Wojnarowski, as he continued to try and stir up controversy against the team he just loves to hate.
Instead of feeding into the silliness, the Heat and its “Three Kings” got down to business and took care of the Detroit Pistons like they were some D-League squad there for a scrimmage; beating them 97-72 in a rout that saw all three of Miami’s main superstars sit out most if not all of the fourth quarter.
James scored 18 points to lead all scorers, and Bosh and Wade chimed in with 16 of their own. Juwan Howard and Eddie House were the other two Miami players in double-figures, while none of Detroit’s starters was able to reach double-digits in scoring.
Greg Monroe and Charlie Villanueva led the Pistons with 15 and 10 points respectively off the bench, but Detroit’s starters were held to a paltry sum on the night as defense reigned.
It was the second-lowest scoring total a Miami opponent had rung up this season, with only the Orlando Magic having a more futile night against the Heat. Coming into the game, Miami had held their opponents to an average of 94.4 PPG; sixth best in the NBA. Coming out of the game, they’re now holding their opponents to just 93.2 PPG; fourth best.
Again, while this is no reason to get all hyped up, it is a step in the right direction. Heat-Haters will point out these last two wins were against the dregs of the NBA. They’ll point out Miami still has a 1-7 record against teams with winning records.
That’s all well and good, and they’re correct to point that out, since Miami hasn’t accomplished a great deal with these wins. However, it’s still a step in the right direction, as stated above.
The Heat have the schedule they have, and whatever teams are in front of them right now, are the teams they’ll have to beat. That will include the Cleveland Cavaliers, who they’ll play tomorrow.
As I pointed out in my previous article, many of the teams Miami will face over the coming weeks aren’t the cream of the crop in the NBA. Yet, winning these games can still give them a chance to adjust; an opportunity to gain chemistry; and a way for them to finally right their ship.
I’m still unconvinced Erik Spoelstra is the man for the job, but I’ll be the first to admit that I would love to see him prove me wrong. I’d love nothing more than to see Miami go on a very, very long win streak and have Spo regaled as the mastermind behind the turnaround.
Whether that happens, as I said before, only time will tell.
Tomorrow is another step on that journey to knowledge and possible legend, and it comes against one of the most emotionally charged opponents the Heat will face all year, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Two things are for certain, though. Mario Chalmers is finally over his injuries (he and Arroyo combined for eight points, nine rebounds, and 11 assists), and LeBron James and his teammates will be ready for this coming game.
As Wade put it, “This family, his new family, has his back, and loves him truly and dearly, and we want nothing but great things for him. So we’re going to try and go out there and get another win. We want to win three games in a row and it’s a special game for our brother … and we’re all going to play hard for him.”
I think that about sums it up.