Prior to the beginning of the season, the Miami Heat seemed to be everyone’s choice to win the NBA finals — something that surprised no one because they were winners of the previous two championships. Now, the Heat are sitting at 43-16, a great record by all means, but they are currently on a two-game losing streak.
Most would argue that counting out the Heat is not a wise move. Still, a few things that I have seen from them this season have led me to believe that they will not win their third straight championship. The most telling sign has been their lack of consistency on both ends of the floor at times. Unlike years prior, if LeBron James does not totally dominate, then the Heat’s chance of winning diminishes greatly. Even worse, they cannot depend on Dwyane Wade as much as they have in the past.
Wade is averaging 19.1 points per game on the season, which is his lowest total since his rookie season. He may be shooting a career-best 55 percent from the field, but he is also taking fewer shots than he has since 2003. I personally do no not put too much thought into a player’s field-goal percentage, because that is a stat that can be very deceiving.
Wade’s boost in percentage has a lot to do with his game slowing down due to injuries. He has to be a lot more careful with his shot selection, because he does not have the same abilities he once had. In addition, James’ presence plays a huge part in what Wade does on a nightly basis. I am sure Wade would personally want to score more points for his team, rather than putting up high field-goal percentages in close losses.
James’ career-high field-goal percentages have also misled many people when they evaluate his game this season. His numbers this year show that James has had better years, but the common belief seems to be that he is having his best season yet, mostly due to his off the chart percentages, even though he’s near career lows in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. I would personally rather see James scoring 30-plus points while dominating in other areas, rather than being careful with his shot selection in hopes of achieving record-breaking percentages on the season.
James does not seem like the same monster he was when he did not worry as much about his stats and what other players around the league are going. Kevin Durant‘s rise this season has seemed to play tricks on James’ mind, causing him to slip up at times. James has been oddly vocal about Durant’s play this season. On numerous occasions, he has spoken about how worried he is about KD overtaking him as the best player in the world.
After scoring 61 points recently, James and the Heat would lose the following two games, while Durant continued to burn hot. James put up two very mediocre games, trying to stay afloat in the MVP race, rather than doing whatever was necessary to get his team a few victories. Aside from everything I mentioned above, there’s also some very worthy teams ready to knock the Heat off their throne.
Teams such as the Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets are currently playing better basketball than the Heat have played at any point of the season thus far. If they are going to go all the way, the Heat will need plenty of help from the teams currently ahead of them. I highly doubt that anyone is going to take a step back and let Miami waltz in and steal another championship. It will be a little while before its official, but the Heats’ days as champions are coming to end.