The Miami Heat looked pretty good wrapping up back-to-back victories after a pair of double-digit defeats — two without Michael Beasley (hamstring) and one minus Dwyane Wade (knee). They even avenged a loss against a Detroit Pistons team that rocked them by 10 points just last week.
Some may feel like all is right with the team from South Beach. The effort was there, LeBron James flirted with two triple-doubles and the Heat finally showed the aggression to shrink their rebounding deficits down to nine and one.
Now you can never go wrong with wins, but any knowledgeable basketball fan could see that these games did not count much as a measuring stick. They were still beat on the boards by a Kevin Love-less Minnesota Timberwolves and then destroyed a Pistons squad that they shouldn’t have given up a game to in the first place.
There’s a bigger picture at stake that has not been lost on anyone, including the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman:
“…. this four-game trip never was about Thursday’s loss in Chicago, Saturday’s victory in Minnesota or even standing up to the Pistons’ Sunday size.”
“It always was about Tuesday, against the Indiana Pacers, the first of four matchups between the Eastern Conference leaders and arguably the first of the only four East matchups that truly will matter this season.”
When you break the Heat’s season down, all 82-games will be defined by how they stood up to the relentless assault of the hungry upstarts in Indiana after two years of playoff battles.
It doesn’t matter how much the organization denies it; they know that the first place Pacers are dancing in the back of their minds.
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