It was about two weeks ago when the Chicago Bulls beat the Miami Heat and sent media outlets into a frenzy. The Los Angeles Lakers‘ 33-games were safe and ESPN and NBATV were stuck with games they didn’t have enough interest in to schedule in the first place. But last nights win against the Bulls was followed by a realization that the end of the streak was Miami’s big blessing in disguise.
The loss gave Erik Spoelstra an excuse to install his late-season maintenance program by resting role-players and stars, including Dwyane Wade who recently admitted to taking the court injured (Via USA Today Sports):
“I think that winning streak played a role in me playing too long.”
But with the playoffs looming, that March 27 loss gave the Heat a reason to let players lean back and to tend to the nicks and bruises of an 82-game season. It also granted the pine riders a chance to play.
Rashard Lewis got his shot back; Mike Miller got his shot going, and the team cleaned up the sloppy play that came from the comfort of knowing that they could comeback from double digit deficits. Now, team’s leads have been at a minimum while the Heat have looked more engaged from the jump.
So in essence, coach Spoelstra should thank the streak busters for allowing them nearly a month to heal and get playoff ready. In turn, the team that MJ built should appreciate the fact that last night’s 12-point loss could keep them out of Miami’s possible steamroll to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Two inadvertent favors from squads conditioned to feast on their prey like great whites.
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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.