After statistically having the worst regular season since the Big Three came together in 2010, the Miami Heat are finally running into good fortune. They are 3-0 in there first round series against the Charlotte Bobcats, and they are the only unbeaten team left in the playoffs. It is still extremely early to cast any serious predictions, but the Heat are once again looking like strong favorites to win their third straight title.
The defending champs have a chance to sweep the series against the Bobcats on Monday, potentially affording them extra rest before the second round starts against either the Toronto Raptors or the Brooklyn Nets (who currently lead the series 2-1). A week off between rounds would be extremely beneficial for the Heat, mostly due to how old their roster is. In fact, the Heat have the oldest roster in the league, so from an age standpoint, their 15-man lineup needs the time off more than any other squad in the playoffs. Chris Bosh even had this to say about a potential sweep on Monday. “Yeah, we like rest.” This is short and right to the point, but shows what this Heat team has their eyes set on — rest.
Out of all three postseasons, the Big Three have played together in Miami in two series against the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks, which went to five games. Even with their defense-first mentality, the Bobcats will be the easiest team the Heat face in the playoffs by far. Of the six current teams left in the playoffs, five could give the Heat problems in a second or third round matchup (the Atlanta Hawks being the lone exception), so any advantage they could gain before these series occur should be made a priority.
This is truly the first postseason where the Heat have had a near fully healthy roster, and gaining the few extra days of rest between rounds will keep it that way. No one knows the agony of pushing your players too early in the playoffs more than Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose. Just look at what happened to that Chicago Bulls team in the 2012 playoffs after losing Rose. That situation alone should be enough of a reminder for the Heat to try and close out the Bobcats on Monday. Only push your star players when the time is right, and the first round is not one of those times.