Time for Miami Heat to Start Playing Like NBA Defending Champs is Now

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Every college basketball analyst will say that teams want to play their best basketball going into the NCAA tournament. Well, that same mentality should and does apply to the NBA Playoffs. No team wants to be in a slump, on a losing streak or post a losing record in the month of March before the playoffs. Look at the San Antonio Spurs, they seem to start the season slow and everyone says they are “too old.” Too old? Yeah, right! The Spurs have won 16-straight games and have taken control of the Western Conference. Looks like Greg Popovich has his squad gearing up for another Finals run.

I’m sure everyone would love to see a rematch of last year’s Finals, but if the Miami Heat continue to play the poor basketball they have played, that is a distant dream. During the month of March, Miami is 8-8. That includes the tough, physical loss to the Indiana Pacers. Those eight losses also include let-downs against the Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards. Those are all easily winnable games for a team with apparently “three superstars.” Oh, and I can’t forget the embarrassing and inexcusable blowout to the Spurs, 111-87.

Basically, if I was a gambling man, I would not put a penny on the Heat to win the title. This month has been an absolute embarrassment for the franchise and LeBron James. And if the Pacers game was any indication of what is to come in the playoffs, Miami can’t afford to mess around. Indiana knows the only chance they have at beating Miami is being very physical and that is exactly what they did.

So, if that is the case, the Heat need to get their act together right now! They need to be playing at a very high level because they can’t waste time and energy in the first and second rounds. Miami must sweep the first round and go no further than five games in the second. I know that Dwyane Wade can’t handle anymore than that and if they do meet the Pacers, they will need all the energy and bodies they have. It is a simple as this: they need to play like the overpaid players they all are or watch it all far apart and James leave South Beach. The fate of Miami is in their own hands and it is up to them what they do with it.

Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantSports, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.

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