Before anyone begins to claim that the Miami Heat have fixed their problems with a 99-90 home win over the Washington Wizards tonight, let me be the first to say that nothing has changed for this team. Their win tonight put another victory in the win column, but it doesn’t prove anything to anyone who knows basketball. The Wizards are pushovers, and the Heat was expected to win this game, despite their recent three-game losing streak.
LeBron James had a mediocre game for someone of his stature, scoring 23-points on 10-of-15 shooting. Fortunately, his subpar outing helped his team get the win, so James did not have any reason to make up any excuses about his play. Give it another couple of unexpected losses, and James will be back to his old ways — blaming sleeves, masks and anything not pertaining to basketball for any bad games he has.
For now, Heat fans should not get too much sleep. They have no reason to think that their team has finally reached land after swimming in an ocean of doubt over the last week-plus. The only thing the Heat and their fans have to be happy about now is the fact that the team with the best chance of dethroning them, the Indiana Pacers, are going through a bit of a rough patch themselves.
Still, I expect both teams to be playing better by the beginning of the playoffs, and I think the Pacers will come out on top this year.
The Heat are obviously having big trouble defeating the NBA‘s elite teams. Their most recent losses came by way of the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and the surging Chicago Bulls. Beating teams like the Wizards is not going to get them any closer to being prepared to run a seven-game series with opponents that are more formidable.
It may not be too late for the Heat, but their window of opportunity is closing. They have to get themselves used to beating good teams before the playoffs kick off. If not, there will be no way this team is going to put together a run good enough to win them their third NBA Championship in a row.