Blog Entry

Not this year for the Heat, but they're not done

Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:27 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 3:41 am
Posted by Royce Young

MIAMI -- It didn't finish the way it was supposed to for the Heat. "The Decision," the preseason celebration, the dancing, the talking, the predictions, the declarations, the arrogance -- it all looks downright stupid now.

The Dallas Mavericks just celebrated an NBA championship right in front of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. On their home floor, too.

The Mavs were the better team. They understood everything about winning. They understood the little things you have to do. Every player on the roster was available to contribute and, as an example, Ian Freaking Mahinmi played some seriously important minutes and made some big-time plays for them in Game 6.

That's what it takes to taste "The Moment." That's what it takes to be a champion. I think it's in the "How To Win A Championship Manual." Unlikely players come up huge in unlikely moments. The Heat were missing those moments, those players. It was supposed to be LeBron, Wade and Bosh. That was the master plan. But the Mavs showed that it's all about individual talent coming together to win as a group. As a team. Dallas made the plays, got the rebounds, got the stops and did enough to finish it off. They were just better.

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And as a result, they're the 2010-11 NBA champions.

But it ends there.

"We understand our goal is to win a championship," Wade said after the game. "We wasn't able to accomplish that Year One. But this ain't the end of the Miami Heat. We'll use this as motivation and come back and try to do this again."

That Year One was an experiment didn't finish quite right. But think back to the whole season the Heat just experienced. All those moments where people said, "See? They've got no chance!" The 9-8 start, the five-game losing streak, the struggles in crunch time. The supposed "bump," the talk of Pat Riley replacing Spoelstra, CryGate, all the ridiculous media stories covering every single move they made. They had a lot going on this first season.

Many felt that, in the preseason, in December and even in April, this Heat team wasn't built for a championship. LeBron and Wade weren't totally ready to play together. Chemistry was lacking. The roster didn't have enough depth. Figuring out how to win games was going to come with a little more time. Look back at the predictions in October. The Heat were not an odds-on favorite for the title or even to reach the Finals, despite of the power and talent assembled on the roster.

Lockout talk aside -- because who really wants to think about that right now -- this Heat team will have a next season. This wasn't a one and done deal. Really, if anyone had a window that was near shut, if anyone was having a now or never moment, it was the Mavs.

The future for the Heat is still as bright as any franchise in the league. Their outlook remains bright. Three great players, a terrific young coach, a smart guy in the front office, a solid owner and a lot of room to improve. Nothing says this team can't rip off a three-peat starting next season. Nothing says they will win it all, either. But the point is that the future is a blank canvas for the Heat.

The roster isn't perfect. There's work to be done. Erik Spoelstra said he could win with these guys, and he was almost right. But like every other team in the league, the Heat want to be better next season. Bosh, as he typically does, put it extremely well after the game.

"There's no hiding. In the NBA, you play a series, best of seven games, usually the better team is going to win. So we've got work to do," he said. "We have to go back to the drawing board. It hurts to come this far and come up short. It's disappointing, but hopefully we can use this as motivation going forward.

"Looking back on it, this was our first year. Absolutely we would like to have won it this year. But just being optimistic, looking forward, yeah, I mean, there's a bright spot, but we have to work and we have to develop the mindset to go get it.

Of course they missed a big opportunity. This season ends in disappointment instead of celebration. It's damn hard to get to the NBA Finals and they were there and didn't finish the job despite having two games to win at home. That's a killer. That opportunity doesn't come along very often.

But LeBron is 26. Wade is 29. Bosh is 27. They're all signed through 2014. Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony, too. A solid core is there. A core that was two wins away from an NBA title. To think this team is far off and won't ever get there is insane. That's one hell of a talented group in South Beach.

This championship run ended. It didn't finish as they had hoped, especially after that ludicrous welcome party almost a year ago. This wasn't the first in a run of not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six championships that LeBron promised.

But it's not over for this group. Not by a long shot. Get all your jokes and ha-has in now, because eventually, there's a good chance the Heat may have the last laugh.

Since: Oct 13, 2007
Posted on: June 13, 2011 7:23 pm

Not this year for the Heat, but they're not done

What happened here is similar to the 2004 Finals with Detroit, being the underdog yet playing as a complete TEAM, whacking the lakers who themselves had a mini super team.  Dallas was a TEAM no doubt, they amazed many many basketball fans during the entire playoffs and took down a dubbed super team in Miami.  
Remember how many people cheered the lakers loss and said things like "they got what they deserved", etc?  A ton - just like now.
Difference is that was a 'last hurrah' of many sorts for those 2004 lakers while this Heat team will tinker and absolutely be back in the finals. 

Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:27 pm

Not this year for the Heat, but they're not done

There is a difference between athletic slasher types (Wade and James) and spot up shooters (Kidd, Terry, Nowitzki). Slasher types tend to fall off once they hit 30 because of the decline in athleticism while pure shooters can hang on longer because of their shot.

Look at some of the more athletic slashers of our generation.

Tracy McGrady fell off after age 28.
Vince Carter fell off after age 30.Allen Iverson fell off after age 30.
Kobe Bryant's numbers have declined every year since age 27.
Paul Pierce fell off at age 30.

There are probably more too, but those are just off the top of my head. Now I'm not saying that James and Wade will no longer be productive as they approach and surpass 30, but you can't expect them to continue to put up MVP type numbers at that point.

Since: Dec 9, 2009
Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:08 pm

Not this year for the Heat, but they're not done

Wow your going to bring up age as an issue for wade cause he's 29 The day after the championship was won by Dirk (32) Terry (33) and Kid (38).

Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:06 pm

Not this year for the Heat, but they're not done

I think the window will close quicker than anticipated in Miami. James is the youngest of the big 3, but he will be in his 9th NBA season next year and has played over 29000 minutes in the NBA. There is a point where his high contact style of play will start to wear him down, and in fact we may have seen glimpses of that this finals series. Wade seems to have constant nagging injuries and is no spring chicken either. Miller and Bibby are aging scorers whose ability to score has declined greatly and don't really do much else in the way of passing or defense. Haslem is injury prone and will be 32 next year. Juwan Howard and "Big Z" will be retiring and joining AARP next season. There is no talented youth on the team whatsoever. Chalmers is one of the worst points in the NBA and the next youngest person who sees court time is Lebron who is probably the oldest 26 year old in the history of the NBA in terms of the wear and tear.

Since: Nov 27, 2010
Posted on: June 13, 2011 10:38 am

Not this year for the Heat, but they're not done

I am and have always been a loyal HEAT and WADE fan but not so much a lebron fan... i say trade lebron for blake griffin or dwight howard.And trade Bosh for Gasol.

Since: Jul 17, 2008
Posted on: June 13, 2011 10:00 am

Not this year for the Heat, but they're not done

I really don't think that the Heat are ever going to win a championship with the these guys.  They should try to trade LBJ for Howard.

Since: Jun 12, 2009
Posted on: June 13, 2011 9:04 am

Not this year for the Heat, but they're not done

I disagree...the Heat will not win a title with the big three.  Here is why?  Wade is an old 29.  He is injury prone and is getting older.  Getting older in the NBA does not mean you are getting better.  LBJ is in his prime, but he is incomplete.  He can't play with his back to the basket and when a team plays a zone and shuts down the lane, LBJ just flounders around the perimeter lost.  Great regular season player, but never a big time champion.  Bosh, is soft.  Nice player, but soft.  Teams like Chicago, Boston, and even the Knicks will be better than the Heat next season in the East.  This season was the Heat's best chance.  Big implosion coming next season.

Since: Jan 4, 2011
Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:44 am

Not this year for the Heat, but they're not done

Miami needs more pieces. LeBron says he want to pass and play defense more than he wants to score. Fine, but pass to whom? Dallas showed Miami -- players, coaching staff and management -- what the machinery of a championship team looks like. Now it's up to Miami to build it. Unfortunately for them, they do not have picks, or players to trade. Have to go into the free agent market, and that usually is a dubious, uncertain world.

BTW, fantastic that Jason Kidd got a ring after a lifetime in the NBA. I worked in Alameda, CA in the late 1980s, and heard about Kidd when he played at St. Jospeh prep there. Back then, I was young enough to go to singles bars and happy hour. Now I'm collecting my "social". From the beginning, I thought Kidd was kind of a "retro" player, a throwback to the era when those 6'2" guards dominated the backcourt position. His place in Springfield is waiting now, no doubts or questions anymore.

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:35 am

Not this year for the Heat, but they're not done

The Heat are going to win a title or three, I accept that...

...I just hope it's after enough failures that LeBron James finally gets some modicum of humility beaten into his skull (not likely, but one can dream).  Or at the very least learns a few lessons about, you know, NOT taunting the star player of the team that's beating you.  The media hype around the guy dying a bit would be a plus (won't happen, because it draws in as many eyeballs from haters as fans, but oh, well).

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