Jan. 29, 2014 marks a day guaranteed to be almost as overhyped as a Miley Cyrus comment on a slow media morning. Why? Because journalists and pundits choose to promote the Oklahoma City Thunder–Miami Heat matchup as a battle between longtime enemies instead of just a good — potentially great — game.
And yes, I understand that the presence of two of the league’s top players makes people envision a budding rivalry, but as of now it’s nothing more than mere chatter because on the court a rivalry simply does not exist.
First of all, Miami and Oklahoma City are in two completely different conferences so there’s no bad blood between the lines since they only play each other twice a year. The only way for them to exceed that couplet is for both teams to make the NBA Finals like they did in 2012. And if you remember correctly, the Heat took the Thunder down in five games.
After Oklahoma City won the first game of the series, Miami went on to win the next four and the two regular season matchups after that. As a matter of fact, they are 4-8 against the team from South Beach in the 12 games they have played since the Big Three came together. So in a sense, it’s a very one-sided rivalry.
But off the court is where the conflict lies. That’s where things have been a bit snippy in terms of basketball related issues.
It all started when the usually quiet Kevin Durant insinuated that Chris Bosh was acting like a “fake tough guy” because he had recently joined good team. Then two years later, the guy recently dubbed the Slim Reaper told Sports Illustrated and 60 Minutes — eight months later — that he’s tired of been second his whole life and is “not going to settle for that.” In between his competitive jealousy, he also threw a shot at Dwyane Wade not being a top ten player.
However, as that preseason spat began to dissipate, Durant went on a January run of 11 straight games of at least 30 points and five games of 40-plus — meaning a legitimate run at LeBron James’ title of MVP.
And from that came the King’s backhanded complaints about being envious of the league’s No. 2 guy having the freedom to go “14-for-34.” To which KD quipped about having to see James’ comments everywhere he turned, because people were “blowing that out of proportion.”