With the Miami Heat’s Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh sitting out once again, Norris Cole took complete advantage of his opportunity, falling just one assist short of a triple-double in a one-point win against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Cole’s play helped to push the Heat’s latest win streak to seven straight games, and is symbolic of what the Heat are bringing to the Playoffs this season. No longer is this team just LeBron, Wade and Bosh. The role players that have been placed around them have what it takes to keep the team afloat, taking pressure off of the main stars. Cole’s 16 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists are a perfect example.
With Rashard Lewis leading the scoring with 19 points, six of the often forgotten members of the Heat scored in double digits. There was even a seven-point performance from the old man, Juan Howard. This is something the rest of the league should be very concerned about.
It is not like the Cavaliers are among the toughest teams in the NBA, but they do play the Heat tough, only having lost their last three meetings by a combined total of a mere nine points. Plus, the Cavaliers have Kyrie Irving, so it should have been a game they were able to steal. Having guys like Lewis, Cole, Mike Miller, and Ray Allen coming together to perform like this has got to be a dream come true for LeBron, who spent most of his career carrying an entire franchise on his back.
Having such a solid supporting cast, playing behind three superstars the caliber of James, Wade and Bosh should scare the crap out of any other playoff hopeful. The Heat were tough enough when it was all on their three stars, now there might not be a team in the world that could beat them in a seven-game series.