No, the Miami Heat are not going to lose the series to the Charlotte Bobcats and the Indiana Pacers did just tie the series with the Atlanta Hawks. However, in both cases neither team has even scratched the surface of what their potential, at one point, appeared to be.
Looking at the second half of the season this may be more of an issue with overrating than underachieving. One of the most significant aspects of this season was the complete collapse of the Pacers. A Pacers team that still wound up with the top seed in the East.
When a team is able to endure the destructive fall that the Pacers went through maintaining the top seed, it’s time to look at the teams that remain behind them.
The Heat are going to be able to close out the series against the Bobcats with very little scrutinization of their game. A lot of this might have to do with their reputation more than their play. The Bobcats ended the season a merely four games above .500 and if the Heat were at the same caliber as they were in last year’s postseason, they should be blowing out the Bobcats on a nightly basis.
Al Jefferson does present a lot of matchup issues for the Heat. However, Jefferson is their only real legitimate threat and there are plenty more teams that have a lot more talent than the Bobcats, even in the Eastern Conference.
The Bobcats have kept games close against the Heat, but there is no real concern that the Heat will lose the series. The sorry state of the Eastern Conference might mean the Heat will once again manage to get to the Finals without stepping up their game very much.
The problems for the Heat will surely come, at the very latest, in the finals. If the Heat continue to play the way they have against the Bobcats, it may not even matter who comes out of the west.
In this series the Heat have proven that, as a team, they are nowhere near as good as they were last year, and that means LeBron James will have to revert back to his Cleveland Cavaliers days and that never worked out well in the end.
The Heat will continue to be the favorites in the East and maybe even the favorites for the title, but their reputation will only carry them so far and if they do not elevate their play when they go up against legitimate contenders, they are going to find themselves ending the season with a loss.