Wednesday, June 11, 2014

2014 NBA Finals: Obstacles the Miami Heat Must Overcome to "Three-Peat"

To start things off, the bottom line about this series is: you can neither count out the Miami Heat nor the San Antonio Spurs in this series. Both teams have proven this matchup to be as entertaining as last year's, especially with the added tension and desperation to win by any means necessary.

The San Antonio Spurs hold a vital, 2-1 lead in this series and look forward to hopefully closing out the NBA Finals on a good note; whereas, the Miami Heat are willing to take advantage of any opportunity to remain NBA World Champions.

As the series continues to unfold, it has unveiled those three components - resiliency, chemistry, and OMS - that keeps the Spurs ticking. Game 1 and 3 have proved San Antonio's (nearly) perfect gameplan to be very effective when everything falls into place.

And we also see what happens when everything doesn't fall in place - Game 2 was awarded to the Miami Heat in a nail-biting finish, due to the championship-caliber comeback performance by LeBron James (35 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals).

Now, Game 4 is upon us and I'm for certain that (almost) every Miami Heat fan is hoping...praying...and/or wishing that somehow/someway their team will pull through and even this series.

In order to steer the momentum back in favor of the South Beach favorites, the Miami Heat must rise above one main obstacle in their way to finally hoist up the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the third time in a row.

Well, let's cut to the chase...this post is for you: the down-trodden Miami Heat fan.

The Miami Heat's Floor General Has Went M.I.A.
(pun intended)

We are three games into the NBA Finals, and Miami has YET to maintain above-average guard play - specifically at the point guard position.

For those "faithful" Heat fans who may not know anyone else on the team besides Miami's Big Three (James, Wade, and Bosh), your starting point guard is Mario Chalmers...and his back-up? Norris Cole. These two guys have put together "not one, not two..." *LeBron James voice* but three consecutive, sub-par performances in the back court.

Look at these numbers: Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole have combined to average 6.7 points per game and 5.3 assists per game in the 2014 NBA Finals. We are talking about two guys that have the job description of "getting the offense going" and I'm pretty sure that roughly five, combined assists via your point guard tandem is going to do the job.

This is why we are seeing Miami's offensive production suffer greatly, despite the great numbers Miami's Big Three provides.Maybe Chalmers did leave his mind on a beach somewhere in Florida...Key West, Palm Beach, Naples?! Because Mario Chalmers' play does not suggest hunger and desperation to bring another championship to South Beach.

And not to mention, Norris Cole. In my opinion, this guy hasn't been the same since Lance Stephenson knocked his face into another world (in case you missed it).

Simply put.

The Spurs point guard duo (Parker and Mills) is whooping Chalmers and Cole on the stat sheet. Until Miami has decent, above-average guard play, Tony Parker and Patty Mills will continue to take advantage of this weakness in the South Beach camp.

2. D. Wade's Knees

Seriously, Dwyane Wade's knees have more fluid than a carton of Tropicana Orange Juice. I commend D. Wade for his drive and determination in adequately preparing for the rigorous road to the championship.

Wade has consistently produced good numbers, making a lot of people forget or second guess about his "bad knees."

Last year, Wade had to get fluid drained out of his knees nearly before/after every game during the NBA Finals. But this year, it looks as if Wade has overcame some of his knee problems.

I'm not saying they (his knees) will never give him trouble this series, but as long as the Heat personnel keep Wade in "championship form"...the Heat have the best chance to grab another title.

3. Constant Criticism

In order to win another championship, the Miami Heat must accept the fact that there will always be doubters, haters, nay-sayers, etc. Whenever a team has the aura of "coasting" to a championship by means of a year-round All-Star Team (i.e., Harlem Globetrotters), you should expect negativity from your opponents.

Anything that happens to LeBron or the Miami Heat, in general, will always be blown out of proportion. Good or bad, the Miami Heat cannot shy away from ESPN or the camera (well, maybe Chalmers...he's put on a magnificent disappearing act this series).
When it's all said and done - win or lose - the focal point will be on the Miami Heat. Reporters will not be as excited for Tim Duncan's fourth ring, compared to LeBron's third straight.
Believe me, no matter the outcome...the focus will be on where is LeBron going after the season ends.

I mean, we're only on the Game 3 aftermath and the sports world is waiting for LeBron's probable departure from Miami to the New York Knicks.

With all of that being said, we will see if Miami can find their Floor General, D. Wade's knees hold up, and develop an immunity to the never-ending criticism.

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