What's on the Menu? "mmmmmm . . . Basketball!!!!"

Saturday, May 18, 2013

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for January and and February: 2. Miami Heat

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of February 28th):  41-14 (first place, Southeast Division)  

This Month:

Team Statistics and League Rank (as of February 28th)
  • Points Scored: 103.9 (5th)
  • Points Allowed: 96.7 (12th)
  • Team FG%: .497 (1st)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .444 (11th)
  • Team FT%: .762 (15th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .391 (3rd)
  • Rebounds per game: 38.6 (30th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 40.1 (4th)
  • Turnovers per game: 13.3 (4th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 15.5 (7th)

Individual Statistical Leaders (as of February 28th)
  • Scoring (ppg): Lebron James (27.1)
  • Rebounds per game:   Lebron James (8.1)
  • Minutes per game:  Lebron James (38.5)
  • Assists per game:  Lebron James (7.3)
  • Field Goal Percentage:  Lebron James (.564)
  • Free Throw Percentage: Chris Bosh (.810)
  • Three Point FG Percentage: Shane Battier (.429)
  • Steals per game:  Lebron James (1.7)
  • Blocked Shots per game:  Chris Bosh (1.3)

Worst Player of the Month: Joel Anthony

At one time Joel Anthony started for this Miami Heat team and was considered as a valuable role player on a team headed for numerous championship titles; however, now he has simply disappeared without a trace without as much as a whimper.  According to his game log on ESPN.com, he played in all but nine games in the regular season; however, no one can really remember them as he barely made little or any impact while on the floor.  At a price tag at nearly 4$ million this season, you would think that Joel Anthony would have a more prominent role and expect a greater impact on this team.  Unfortunately that has not been the case as Joel Anthony has been virtually invisible for the bulk of the regular season and has contributed little if anything to this season's Miami team.  With another two years left on his deal, expect Anthony to end up yet another bloated dead weight contract joining the likes of his teammates Mike Miller and Rashard Lewis.  
First Player of the Month: Lebron James

Usually this portion is reserved for the unsung heroes that get overshadowed by their team's superstars; however , Lebron James' performance was so amazing that he actually outdid himself.  In the month of January, James was simply unstoppable offensively as he simply torched his opposition averaging 27.0 points per game while shooting .555 from the field.  In that month, he shot .500 or better in all but two games, and as if you think he could surpass that, he went on to abusive his opponents in February scoring near 30 per game while shooting .647 from the field and a scintillating .432 from beyond the arc.  To add insult to injury James not only steamrolled his defenders but also showed true overall perfection as a player posting nine double-doubles and two triple doubles to boot.  Such a performance is only a testament of how truly great Lebron James is and what he can do when he utilizes his full potential.   

Heading into the final stretch of the regular season, the Miami Heat has continued their "scorched Earth" policy essentially laying waste to their competition leaving nothing else but a smoking crater remaining.  Although the Heat started the new year on a sour losing four of their first seven games, they bounced back by winning all but three games by the end of February.  After a loss on the road against the Utah Jazz (1/14/2013), they went on a four game run torching both the Golden State Warriors (1/16/2013) and Los Angeles Lakers on the road (1/17/2013) while making short work of the Toronto Raptors (1/23/2013) and Detroit Pistons at home (1/25/2013).  They hit a small speed bump on the road in the form of the Boston Celtics losing to the aging team by a basket in overtime (1/27/2013); however, the Heat bounced back by simply humiliating the Brooklyn Nets on their home court as the blew them out in front of their fans by a 20 point margin (1/30/2013).  Despite starting 2013 with a less than stellar 8-5 record, the following month, Miami would go on a merciless rampage leaving nothing but ashes and rubble in its path.

February would start on a sour note losing on the road against the Indiana Pacers (2/1/2013); however, that would be the Heat's only loss as they simply breezed through the month scorching anyone who dared to get in their way.  And they won in impressive fashion to say the least scoring 100 or more points in all but two games--a surprising close contest between the lowly Charlotte Bobcats (2/4/2013) and a routing of the Chicago Bulls (2/21/2013) where the Heat scored just 86 points, but held the Bulls to just 67.  In their twelve game thrashing, they beat their opponents by an average margin of nearly 13 points per contest beating as but three teams by ten or more points--and these teams were not really pushovers either as six of them had .500 or better records.  Miami laid waste to such powerhouses such as the Pacific Division leading Los Angeles Clippers (2/8/2013) showing no hospitality whatsoever to their guest as they blew them out the arena.  The Heat then went on road to show what terrible house guests they were by slapping the Oklahoma City Thunder, who own the second best record in the Western Conference, along with their home fans across the face as they beat them rather simply by 10 points (2/14/2012).            
And it did not stop from there as the Heat would go on to ransack the homes of the Atlanta Hawks (2/20/2013) followed by the Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers (2/23/2013) beating them by an average margin of 19 points. Unfortunately, the Heat started to show signs of fatigue after wasting away the competition as they barely managed to win against one of the East's whipping boys in the Cleveland Cavaliers (2/24/2013) and had to go through overtime to put down of all teams, the Sacramento Kings (2/26/2013).  In the Sacramento game, the Heat not only had to take overtime to beat the Kings, but allowed one of the worst shooting teams in the league to score 129 points and shoot an very uncharacteristic .515 from the field, considering that Miami is one of the league's best when it comes to holding their opponents down defensively.  Miami had to drop a season high 141 points to beat a team who they would have otherwise snuffed out easily at any other time.  Nonetheless, it was all about getting the win and they did finishing their clear domination of February as they won twelve straight reaching their win total to forty one games all but clinching themselves a playoff spot with still a little more that a month left in the regular season.

To get a better idea of how good a spot the Heat currently are in, just ponder on this--if Miami were to lose every single game for the season, which the chances of that being slim to none, Miami would still finish with a .500 record and still be eligible to qualify for the playoffs.  If they managed to finish the season winning just nine of the last 27 games, they would still end up with a respectable 50 win season, a feat that most teams in the league often strive for.  To put it bluntly, the Heat not only have already punched their ticket to the post season while the rest of the league battles it out, but have also  secured themselves home court advantage throughout the playoffs and into the Finals.  Miami is so far ahead in the East, that no one in their own conference comes near to them in the standings and if they continue at their winning pace, which would be mind boggling to say the least, the Heat will have the East in the palm of their hands.  Simply put, there is literally no team that can get stand in the way of the Heat for their third straight NBA Finals appearance and possibly their second straight NBA championship crown.

Now for most fans and observers, it is basically a waiting game as the outcome has essentially been already determined--2013 will be the Heat's year yet again.  Knicks fans in New York can stop gassing themselves up saying that this is the year they win a title, because it is simply not going to happen, not this year of the following three years after that.  The Heat essentially have positioned themselves as the undisputed king of the Eastern Conference and barring a cataclysmic disaster, they will remain there until the trio of Dwayne, Lebron and Chris (or RUN DLC, as I like to call them) remain in South Florida.  Currently they may rest second in the league in win totals just resting behind the San Antonio Spurs, but that means absolutely nothing because come playoff time, it's going to be the Miami Heat Invitational.  Forget about winning a title because all the other 15 teams that qualify for the postseason will be simply vying for a spot for who will face and inevitably lose to the Miami Heat thus making this the most predictable and mundane season in  NBA History.