Heat Check – November 21, 2013

The Miami Heat are currently powering through another NBA slate, and this time the odds seem stacked against them more than ever before.  They are not the best team in the East – that would be the Indiana Pacers who have torn out of the gates to start the season 10-1.  Many pundits have selected other teams to win the title: OKC, Indy, Chicago…

More than ever though Miami seems more content than ever to simply plod along and win games when they count the most (probably why Dwyane Wade has already sat out two games early on in the season).  Heat fans should know the team is playing to win a trophy at the end of a long season, and they have the confidence of knowing that ultimately, this team knows what it takes to get a ring.

Miami is a slightly deeper team than in seasons past, and one of the main reasons for this is the fact young players on their roster have begun to develop.  Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Michael Beasley, and (yes, rather unbelievably) Greg Oden have given a boost to the Heat bench and now provide pop and the ability to score and defend when LeBron, Wade and Bosh are not on the floor.  Additionally, it would silly not to mention how well Chris Bosh fits in with the team.  He has legitimately added a new skill set to his game over the past few years: an increasingly deep range.  This is a nearly seven foot player who is shooting 50% from behind the arc, something that would have been nearly unthinkable a few seasons ago. 

In the past few days, Miami has also quietly ripped off a pretty good stretch of games, winning five in a row, led again by the best player in the game, LeBron James, who is absolutely shooting the lights out.  LeBron has spent the past week shooting over seventy percent and scoring thirty-flourish a game.  Not too shabby even by his ridiculous standards.  The thing that has been most impressive though about LeBron?  He has picked up his scoring and shooting percentages as that of Bosh and Wade have declined. 

At the end of the day, this is a team that knows what it takes, has the best player in the world and has been to three straight NBA finals – and people still have the guts to pick against them?