Let’s be honest, the Miami Heat do not deserve to wrap up the season with first place in the Eastern Conference. Not with the way that they have manipulated the maintenance program to feature players in and out of the lineup — not unlike what coach Gregg Popovich does in San Antonio. However, things don’t exactly work out the same.
The San Antonio Spurs seem to juggle their preservation better. Either that or there just isn’t as much spotlight shinning in Texas for people to complain. Maybe both. Either way, it doesn’t come off like the pacification of Dwyane Wade and his knees.
Although I get the point behind the days off, the benching practice makes for dreadfully uneven basketball to watch — especially when LeBron James is carrying too heavy of a load on his shoulders while Chris Bosh is basically giving you the same numbers as Mario Chalmers (13 points, six rebounds and 12 points, four rebounds respectively).
Too often do we forget that Bosh is even on the court because he disappears under the pressure like he has a case of the incredibly shrinking man. Couple that with the team’s mental lapses and James’ constant complaining about the Carmelo Anthony treatment — no fouls called — and the Heat experience becomes similar to that of an NBA D-League affiliate.
Yet all that you hear from the critics is praise for the upside if they ever get healthy. And while fans continue to crow about the demise of the Indiana Pacers, they fail to acknowledge that the Heat are 10-11 in their last 21 games.
All in all the final stretch of the season has been pretty embarrassing, but let’s take the organization’s approach and look at the bigger picture. At least second place sidesteps the Brooklyn Nets.