In my two plus years of being a Miami Heat fan I have never once turned off a game before the conclusion. Miami has shown strong resilience and has often come back from deep down because of their supernatural ability to score points like few other teams in history.
Then there are the nights where nothing will go down and the team throws in the towel early in the fourth and allows the bench to get some court time (Hello again, Eddy Curry!) – but this was something altogether different. I physically could not make myself finish the Heat – Clippers game from the other night. It was more than simple disappointment at the predictable outcome, the Clips came in with something big to prove and shot the lights out, it was downright painful to watch Miami try to fight back into the game again and again only to see yet another three pointer (or deep two) improbably go in. The whole thing was back breaker after back breaker and right around the time that Blake Griffin hit one of his five minute jumpers from about eighteen feet I started to get the feeling:
This is awful – there is simply nothing Miami can do to get back into the game. The Clippers are just feeling it tonight and nothing is going to stop them.
While this thought was still rattling around in my head (and ESPN has Lisa Salters chatting away with a clearly disinterested Grant Hill) Chris Paul, with complete confidence, nailed a thirty foot three like it was an everyday occurence. As I was trying to process the ridiculousness of this shot, the Heat turned the ball over and Paul strolled down the court and absolutely destroyed Miami with another three. The second he stepped up I had no doubt it was going in. Every shot they were taking was going in, and this would be no different. Paul’s confidence was so evident it was beyond clear the game was over. Miami had no chance.
For the next two or three minutes it was like being in a complete state of shock. I drifted in and out of the game and then finally picked up the remote and decided I had seen enough. Why should I put myself through the agony? I know teams get up to play Miami, to prove they can beat them but this was something else. This was pure and unadulterated torment. Miami has been awful defending the three this season, partly because it seems like they are content to coast through the regular season and turn it on when it counts most. When they need to win a game, or a series, they have the best player in the world – a man who can singlehandedly win games or series. The most recent instance being the other night against Houston when LeBron put up 32 points in the second half to carry the team to Victory. To be clear: the Heat are not worried.
Maybe they are right, maybe they should not be worried. Winning a title last year gives them a certain amount of leeway because they have proved they can get it done when they need to. The Heat are the team whom no one wants to face in a seven game series.
The game against the Clips was hard to stomach though – it was like watching someone take punch after punch in a fight that had to go the distance. Even though the Heat were staggered and bloody and taking it from all sides they had to keep going, there would be no mercy for them.
The Heat soldier on to Phoenix on the final stop of their West Coast swing, and it should be an easier game for them – hopefully if LBJ (sick) and Wade (hurt) play. However, all in all:
We are not, and should not be worried about the Miami Heat.