As the Miami Heat worked, not so hard, to drop their last three games and speculation began to swirl about them trying to avoid the Brooklyn Nets, a funny thing happened. The Barclays Bunch fell right into their laps — or as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggested last week, maneuvered their way into their path:
“Heat accepting No. 2 seed a strategic decision… now Nets putting No. 6 in play by maybe sitting six rotation players.”
From the looks of things both teams were clearly more interested in playing strategy than basketball. And whether they know it or not, Brooklyn and Miami are engaging in one of the most blatant games of disrespect.
It all started when Paul Pierce claimed that the Heat’s “fear factor” was gone. Then escalated a little when Chris Bosh and LeBron James laughed off the Nets as a viable threat — although their team had just been swept (in the regular and preseason).
However the biggest slight might have been a subliminal one.
Everybody seemed to be in a tanking race to wind up in the Toronto Raptors’ bracket, like they had no fear of the athletic upstarts. But their truth is a lot less flashy. Both teams are old and wanted to trade rest for health. At least that’s what they claim. So using spite as motivation may not be realistic, but Heat fans everywhere are probably hoping that perception leads to the Canadians pulling an upset.