Now that the dust has settled and the NBA athletes are done with their silly All-Star Game, teams must focus back to the task at hand; the 2014 Championship. I really need to say thank God that the atrocity they called “The All-Star Game” is over. I don’t care how many incredibly talented basketball players are on that court, no team should score that many points. One might also think that if these guys are All-Stars then they must be able to play some great defense. Defense? What is defense? It sure looked like all those players had no idea what defense was.
Anyway, back to the main topic and that is the Miami Heat. The defending champs have had some time to relax, laugh and reflect on the first two-thirds of their season. With a current record of 37-14, they comfortably hold the second spot in the East behind the Indiana Pacers. Many have begun to panic over Miami’s lack of excitement this season, and of course Dwyane Wade‘s lingering knee problems have not helped the confidence of analysts and fans. But I am here to say that there is no need to panic, and there is no need to run around like a chicken with its head chopped off. People already have LeBron James opting out of his contract this summer and leaving South Beach all because this season has not been a dazzler.
Now it is time to silence the critics and hit all of those “Debbie-Downers” with some knowledge. During the “Big 3” era (three seasons), the Heat are an overall 170-60, excluding this season. After the All-Star Break, Miami is a combined 66-24 over the last three years, including last season, when they went an amazing 30-2 after the break.
With the Western Conference in full force and the Pacers settling in as top contenders, the Heat will need to be re-energized and refocused for this final push to the playoffs. The organization realizes the importance of this season and how much is riding on the three-peat. Wade, James and Chris Bosh have all been in this position before and have the experience needed. I expect the champs to come out of the break very strong and I would look for them to put together a long streak of wins. The first 51 games were a warmup — a walk around the track. The next 31 games are what will separate the contenders from the pretenders and set the stage for the postseason. Like I said, Miami has been here before and this is when they turn it up.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantNBA, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.