Over the past few days, the NBA season has been playing out like a soap opera with the press conferences for players whose contracts only span 10 days and players being turned in by their ex-fiancees (or in this case wives). But in the case of the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers, the drama for first place in the Eastern Conference has been a season-long process.
Now I must admit, I am one of the first to get on the Heat when they’re playing lazy and uninspired ball, especially when supporters continuously told the world that the team was ahead of last year’s pace. This never really made sense because no one expected Miami to go on another 27-game win streak.
But as of Sunday morning, the team sported the same 39-14 record that they have had after 53 games for the first four years of the Big Three era. Following the victory against the Chicago Bulls, the Heatles have the identical record of the back-to-back championship team.
What really makes that interesting is that they have been coasting for more than half of the season while Indiana has had their foot on the gas, but they are only 1.5 games apart. 10 of their last 28 games will be coming against winning teams.
In the words of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, it has “to be pretty discouraging to the Pacers.” Indiana has been desperately pushing for the top spot in their weak conference because they believe that it would ensure them a trip to the Finals if they were granted a Game 7 on their home floor — as if there was a guaranteed that both teams would even make it to a Game 7.
That’s exactly why the Heat should make it a priority to overtake their Midwest rivals. Not only would it crush their season-long quest, it would give Miami a goal to focus on before the playoffs. Too bad they don’t seem to care much about the No. 1 spot.