Miami Heat Prove To Eastern Conference That Playoffs Are A Different Animal

By Max Zelenko
Lebron James Heat
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s travel back to the end of the NBA regular season. The Miami Heat ended the season, and entered the NBA Playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s second seed. While the Heat were still considered the odds-on-favorite to reach the NBA Finals, the road ahead of them seemed to be a steep one. Now, I could have easily gone with the Lance Stephenson route and discussed his absurd antics throughout this series. However, I truly feel Miami’s brilliant play is being completely overlooked.

Raise your hand if you are aware that Miami is 12-3 in their last 15 games. For those of you who raised his or her hand, I am truly impressed. Anybody that browses through the Internet on a daily basis is well aware of the jawing from Stephenson, which has dominated the headlines. Before Stephenson and the Eastern Conference Finals, the story was about how the Brooklyn Nets defeated Miami in all four regular season matchups, and how they would be an extremely tough test for the Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. How did Miami respond-lost only one game.

Miami is not only winning, but they are advancing to their fourth consecutive NBA Finals in an impressive fashion. What other team in the Eastern Conference, or possibly even the NBA, can give a guy like Rashard Lewis major minutes in a Conference Finals game, after not playing in the first two games of the series? What other team can ask a guy like Udonis Haslem to play starters’ minutes one night, sit the night of the following game, then go back to playing more major minutes? There is simply no other team.

Ever since they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals, the Heat have been on a mission, and to be honest, have been winning with class. There have been plenty of playoff games over the past three seasons where Miami did not get all of the calls they deserved, yet there has never been any finger pointing. Mistakes have been made along the way as well, but players never call out other players.

This team has come together in an impressive way, and have put themselves in a prime position to win a third straight championship. Yes, they have the best player on the planet in Lebron James, and not a bad sidekick in Dwyane Wade, yet to be this dominant and reach the NBA Finals again, while only losing three games is no easy task. There are always going to be haters out there, but it is officially time to recognize greatness when it is right in front of you.

Max Zelenko is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for  Follow him on twitter @maxzelenko, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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