Resting below the loud roar of the America Airlines Arena must have been a silent chuckle from Miami Heat players, coaches and staff. Not because they were on their way to their fourth straight NBA Finals appearance, but because they once again proved that the regular season really does not mean much.
Although they couldn’t pull off the technique of superstar sitting as well as their next opponent — the San Antonio Spurs — the defending champs still found a way to get themselves to the title round.
But before anyone tries to tell you about how weak the Eastern Conference was, just remember that the Heat made it to the Finals three out of four years as the No. 2 seed. And if it were not for a 27-game win streak the Big Three would have never ended a season with the top spot.
However none of that mattered as their playoff tenure has gone through the league’s best statistical defenses. You know, the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett’s Boston Celtics.
All of the wins were not dominant, but neither were those of the greats. Which brings me to a private thought that many of us probably had but ESPN’s Michael Wallace brought to the surface:
“If LeBron [James]/Heat are the era’s Jordan/Bulls as [Frank] Vogel suggests, will [Tim] Duncan/Spurs prove to be [Karl] Malone/Jazz in matchup? Can’t wait to see it”
We know that back then the play was more physical and aggressive. Now things are faster and wide open, but try to ignore how different the generations were. The Heat have a chance to be the first team to three-peat since the 2002 Los Angeles Lakers while attempting to do it by defeating the same team in consecutive years, like the Bulls did to the Utah Jazz.
Placing the Heat in Chicago’s air may not be fair, because in most people’s eyes that level of greatness could never be reached. If you listen to Spurs forward Duncan it will all be a moot point (“We’ll get it done”). And in the case that he’s right, the dynasty talk will all go out the window because none of this playoff success counts for anything if Miami can’t pull in four more wins.
After all, they play for gold trophies — not the silver ones.