Three one-point losses, a double-overtime collapse and an athletic rookie blocking the best player in the game to drop the back-to-back champs for the sixth time this season — preseason included.
“They just have been able to pull them out,” LeBron James said, scoffing at the notion of the Brooklyn Nets being any type of grave playoff concern. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
The Miami Heat can pretend if they want, but a second-round matchup with the Nets will not bode well for the future of their championship run. I don’t know if it is the ghost of the Boston Celtics or the curse of the nickname jerseys, but Paul Pierce believes that the “fear factor” has abandoned Biscayne Bay.
Perhaps it’s because Dwyane Wade abandoned the team for almost a third of the season, killing all hopes of continuity. Or maybe because the Nets have had them looking genuinely rattled every time the two teams stepped on the court together — even without Kevin Garnett around to keep Chris Bosh notoriously off his game. Or perhaps it’s just a bad matchup for the “Big Two and some change.”
I’m not saying that to say the Heat would lose a seven-game series to Brooklyn, but they could give them a run for their money. And if nothing else, they would beat Miami until they were more than weakened for the Eastern Conference Finals.
So Miami can keep pretending, but if they do not use this sweep as an obstacle to overcome they will have no choice but to reflect on their old Boston blues.