The Miami Heat could not have asked for a more successful stretch of games going into the All-Star break. The reigning NBA champions have been red-hot, winning seven straight games, including victories over top Western Conference contenders Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Miami is at the top of the Eastern Conference standings with a 36-14 record, four games ahead of the New York Knicks.
LeBron James has been the catalyst for Miami’s recent success, but according to Sun-Sentinel, last season’s most valuable player believes the best is still to come for the champions:
“I think that’s exactly what we want to be right now,” James said before Saturday’s All-Star practice. “We don’t want to be at a 10 with 50-plus games to be played [including playoffs]. Right now we’re about at a seven. But our seven has an arrow that’s going up.”
On a scale from one to ten, James rates Miami’s current form at a seven. While it might seem pessimistic, the team does have higher aspirations than just dominating in the regular season. When the postseason gets underway and every single player in the NBA is banged up, that is when the Heat will look to hit that perfect ten.
The conference standings can also be misleading. The matter of the fact is that, until this impressive seven-game winning streak, the Heat have mostly been cruising throughout this season. While the team has found ways to win a good amount of games, for the majority of the season Miami has played down to the opposition. This has lead the Heat to a lot of unnecessarily close contests.
Miami has been cruising this season, but we have seen an increased intensity from the team lately, especially on the defensive end. We can expect the Heat to continue making these gradual improvements, and slowly but surely hitting peak form come playoff time.
Vytis is a Miami Heat and NBA columnist at RantSports. Follow him on Twitter: @VytisLasaitis