Heat can cool doubters
In the summer of 2010 Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade stood together on a stage at American Airlines Arena in Miami in front of a packed house. A DJ spun some popular tunes, the Heat public address announcer took the mic and the amount of smoke pouring out of the machines made it look like the Orange Bowl in the 80s. And don’t forget the pyrotechnics display.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were watching a championship celebration. The world’s most absurdly elaborate dog and pony show rivaled that of the parade the Lakers had a few days earlier after they captured their seventeenth NBA title. Lebron proclaimed they would win not one, not two, not three, four, five, six, or seven, but eight championships.
The hatred that spews out of NBA fans everywhere for Miami and the self-proclaimed “Big Three” — or as PA man Michael Baiamonte suggested — the “Three Kings,” is easy to understand. Glorifying yourselves and guaranteeing eight titles before your first practice together is a good way to draw the ire of many.
Fast-forward almost two years later, and not much has changed. Most fans still hate the Heat and they still haven’t won anything. Granted, they’ve only had one chance so far, but it doesn’t make it any less fair to discuss.
Miami knocked off the Indiana Pacers last week to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to play the Boston Celtics for the second straight year. Chris Bosh’s status is still up in the air after straining an abdominal muscle in the first game of the semis, but the Heat have caught their fair share of breaks.
The top-seeded Chicago Bulls lost last year’s MVP Derrick Rose in the very first series and subsequently lost the series to the Sixers. It marked just the fifth time in NBA history an eight beat a one in the playoffs, eliminating Miami’s biggest competition.
The Knicks, who the Heat disposed of in just five games in round one, lost one of their best players in Amar’e Stoudemire after he tried to uppercut a glass fire extinguisher case and received several stitches in his hand.
Stoudemire, a six-time All-Star who averaged 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in 2011-12, was forced to miss a pivotal game three in New York and played in games four and five with a partial cast at much less than 100 percent.
The Knicks were a trendy pick to take the men from South Beach to a game seven or possibly even knock them out of the playoffs.
The Pacers were the three seed, but the lack of a superstar-type player and playoff experience was no match for Miami.
Now, they are facing the ancient and hurting Boston Celtics. Kevin Garnett (36), Ray Allen (36) and Paul Pierce (34) are all past their prime and Pierce’s sprained MCL and Allen’s bone spurs certainly seemed to effect them in the Heat’s 93-79 Game 1 beatdown on Monday.
Boston guard Avery Bradley isn’t a household name, but he is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Luckily for the Heat and especially Mario Chalmers, he’s out for the rest of the playoffs after ripping up his shoulder.
There’s always a little luck involved in any championship run, but the Heat couldn’t have dreamed of an easier path than this.
With much speculation that the team might deal one of the three if they don’t win a ring this year, this could very well be the last chance the “Big Three” gets to do what they said they would.
The haters and doubters love when the Heat fail. This is likely the best shot they have to shut them up.
Jay Skebba is the IC Sports Editor and a junior majoring in communication.
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