Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. That’s the type of manpower that the Miami Heat came into the season with — surefire champions and future Hall of Famers. They were the league’s main attraction.
When the Heatles came to town, they were guaranteed to sellout your arena and guaranteed to embarrass your favorite player — inside or outside of Biscayne Bay. They were expected to steamroll teams and they did so for the better part of 27 games; but boy, did that wear off quick once the playoffs hit.
And not the Milwaukee Bucks series — I mean the real playoffs.
That’s when a bad trend started to rear its head. Instead of teams being afraid of the Big Three, they dared the Big Three. That said, the San Antonio Spurs did it differently. They wanted Bosh, James and Wade to beat them shooting jump shots. And for the better part of three games, it worked. They kept the Heat’s shooters below 50 percent with none of their players reaching 20-plus points until Game 4.
The fear went from Miami’s opponents to Miami’s squad. The mystique was gone —and so was their confidence. No one wanted to miss, so they all ignored their shots. Except for Bosh, who kept bricking. It had the team’s entire morale in the ground.
Like former Spurs forward Stephen Jackson said, you can’t have the best player on the planet (James) and one of the best two-guards in the world (Wade) scared to take open jumpers. On Thursday, they weren’t.
But after only one breakout game, who knows if they really shook their initial fears to shoot.
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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.