The second title is always one of the hardest to achieve.
Once many teams win their first championship together, it is extremely difficult to regain that drive going into the following season. There are only a select few teams that have had the skill, talent and luck to win back-to-back titles: the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and now the Miami Heat.
What the Heat have accomplished is no small feat. Many will argue that LeBron James willed this team on his shoulders over the finish line to claim their second consecutive championship. On paper, James was an absolute monster, but that shouldn’t overshadow some miraculous crunch-time plays that occurred to get the Heat to even be a part of an NBA Finals Game 7.
If it weren’t for Coach Popovich’s benching of Tim Duncan down the stretch of the fourth quarter of Game 6, Chris Bosh may not have been the beneficiary of the legendary rebound that led to Ray Allen’s dagger corner three. This is arguably the greatest play of the Heat’s postseason run. Without that play, we could have been watching the San Antonio Spurs claim their fifth franchise championship at American Airlines Arena.
Teamwork is what got the Heat this championship. Although James had to do a lot of the grunt work to get it done, many role players stepped up when called upon and delivered. Without fantastic shooting performances from Mike Miller (Game 6), Shane Battier (Game 7) and Allen, the Heat wouldn’t be hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Going for the three-peat next year will be extremely difficult. The Heat are only getting older and there are many hungry young teams eager to snatch the crown away from the reigning champs. The Heat will look slightly different next season only in the sense of bringing in new rotation players.
No matter who they have, the Heat better mentally prepare for one of their most grueling seasons.