Top 5 Most Important Games for Miami Heat in 2013-14 Season
Top Five Most Important Games for the Miami Heat in the 2013-2014 Season
A three-peat is now in sight for the Miami Heat. This upcoming season could be the most difficult to play through in terms of health and mental focus for this championship squad, but they are still considered heavy favorites to make it back to the NBA Finals in 2014. A lot will need to go right in order for the Heat to win a third title. They will need to set the tone early in the season, and win games against teams they will most likely face in the playoffs. This includes many games against teams in the top-heavy Eastern Conference.
The Heat have been afforded the luxury of having nine of their first 14 games of the season at home, which could help them buffer a nice record initially. Also, take into consideration the Heat play in arguably the weakest division in the entire NBA, the Southeast, which consists of the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic. Not a whole lot of intimidation going on within that division besides the defending champs. It would seem that the Heat have been set up for repeat success.
Even though on paper the Heat have an easier schedule than most other teams, there are five games that could define the Heat’s entire season and set the tone for them going into the playoffs. These are games that as a fan of basketball, are must watch. Without further ado, the top five most important games for the Heat going into the 2013-14 season.
5) Wednesday, January 29th- Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Miami Heat
It’s been awhile since we will have seen the marquee matchup of the two best players in the league. With the Oklahoma City Thunder’s disappointing second-round exit this past postseason, a rematch of the 2012 Finals never occurred. With a healthy Russell Westbrook returning to the fold, the Thunder will once again be the team to beat in the Western Conference. What we witness could be a preview for the 2014 NBA Finals. Both teams will look to establish dominance early, and it will be quite the showdown.
4) Sunday, January 26th- San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat
This Finals rematch will be one of the most anticipated in recent history. After an epic seven-game showdown that resulted in the Heat’s second-consecutive title, this rematch could again set the tone for what could be a potential Finals matchup. The San Antonio Spurs, like the Indiana Pacers, set a blueprint on how to dismantle the Heat and potentially win a playoff series against them (although the Dallas Mavericks are the only team to successfully do it since the formation of the Heat’s Big Three). With both teams bringing back most of their championship rosters, the tension in the arena should be pretty high, and the spread will be razor thin.
3) Friday, November 1st- Miami Heat vs. Brooklyn Nets
With the Brooklyn Nets now touting five All-Stars on their starting lineup, the first matchup between these super-star teams will be quite the battle. Although the Heat have had the upper hand against the Nets over the last few seasons, with the additions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, expect a closer final score. Now that Jason Kidd is manning the sidelines for the Nets as head coach, it will be interesting to see what lineups he puts out against the defending champs. Expect a lot of hostility between both teams, especially with Pierce and Garnett on the floor.
2) Tuesday, December 10th- Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers
The matchup between these two teams is always intense. The Indiana Pacers have made it known over the last few seasons that they have the Heat’s number, and are not afraid to bully the defending champs around. The first game between these two teams this season will bring out the fiercest competitors. Like the Spurs, the Pacers are bringing back most of their roster that brought them within a game of the NBA Finals. The big difference now is that the Pacers have shored up their bench with the additions of Luis Scola, C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland. Expect some bloodshed when these two teams collide in December.
1) Tuesday, October 29th- Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat
Talk about a comeback? Derrick Rose will be returning for his first regular season game since his brutal injury on April 28, 2012 against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. It also just happens to be against the defending champs. Since the formation of the Heat’s Big Three, the Chicago Bulls have been one of the few teams that can get underneath the defending champs' skin. The type of stout defense and aggressive offensive that Tom Thibodeau utilizes with the Bulls seems to narrow the gap in terms of talent between both rosters. Expect Rose to be aggressive early on, looking to establish dominance against a potentially lackadaisical Heat team. An upset could be in the works.