The Miami Heat are currently the hottest team in the NBA, no pun intended. Winners of their last 11 games, the heat have burned multiple playoff teams in the stretch such as Oklahoma City, Houston, Chicago, and the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers by an average of 10 points.
Leading the heat on their impressive run is LeBron James and his willingness to attack the basket. James is shooting an amazing 65% over the last 10 games averaging 29 pts and a near tripple double at 8 rebounds and 7 assist per game. Many have said for years if James would go to the basket or post up, he would be unguardable. This is starting to be the case.
The massive amount of Jordan debates don’t seem to be weighing on the “King” too much, however James is not winning all these games by himself. Fellow “Big 3” members Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade are also shooting over 51% in this winning streak. Wade himself is hitting a career best 51% is playing amazing as well despite his back role to king. Wade currently is recording a career high in steals as well at 1.6 per game. The 3 combine for 68% of shots taken by the team hitting over 57%. When the team is this hot, you can only sit back and watch.
With swarming defense and attacking the basket, the big 3 have allowed other older veterans on the roster to relax and enjoy the fun, giving sharp shooters Ray Allen, mike Miller, and Shane Battier plenty of time to save leg strength for the real run in the playoffs spreading any defense that tries to double and shut down “Batman and Robin.” The heat had this planned from the start of the season following their winning formula from last season’s playoffs however they had no idea LeBron and Wade could succeed this much in the offense.
So should the heat be considered the favorites to repeat as champions this year? I see no reason why not. With a relatively weak Eastern Conference the heat should face little opposition other than the Pacers into the NBA finals. The Knicks might be a problem, though it will be interesting to see if they can survive through 2 rounds. Carmelo Anthony has never taken his team farther than the 2nd round. Boston has been plagued by injuries and old age. Finally the Bulls will hope the addition of MVP point guard Derrick Rose will not crush team chemistry. Against the best of the Western Conference, being the Spurs, Thunder, Warriors, Grizzlies, and Clippers, Miami has torched the teams this season winning 5/7 of these matchups with the majority away.
With all of the success this team has had since its coming together in 2010, a return trip to the finals for a 3rd time in a row should be expected. If the “Big 3” can remain this hot, the rest of the NBA will be “feeling the Heat” for sure come July.