Heat Burn the Grizz, Improve to 13 Straight Wins
NBA fans should take immediate notice: the defending champs are on fire. It's possible that the fun-loving, Harlem Shaking Miami Heat are cruising right to another championship. The Heat pushed their win streak to 13 with Friday nights win over Memphis. Miami was also able to prove that they are more than just Lebron's team. James had only 4 points entering the 4th quarter, but the stellar play of Dwayne Wade picked up the slack.
Memphis is known for their defensive prowess, regularly holding opponents below 90 points. They contained Miami's biggest star for most of the game. Lebron was in real danger of ending his double digit scoring streak at 474 games. He managed to put together a 14 point 4th, nailing a crucial late 3 that proved to be the dagger. James finished with 18 points, with 8 rebounds and 10 assists. King James does it all for Miami and will likely earn a second consecutive MVP award.
Memphis came into the game on their own extended winning streak. The Grizzlies had won 8 straight before their game with Miami. The Grizz were criticized recently when they traded Rudy Gay to the Raptors and acquired Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye. The deal looked lopsided at the time. Gay was Memphis' best known player and a star in the league. But Memphis may be better off with Prince and Daye. They are players that don't need the ball to contribute. Gay was mostly a scorer who commanded the ball. In contrast, Prince and Daye will allow big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to remain the focal point of the Grizzlies offense. With that being said, Gasol and Randolph combined 38 points tonight, taking advantage of Miami's size deficiency.
For the Heat, Shane Battier stepped up big hitting 4 of 5 from the 3-point line. Battier was a key during Miami's championship run last season, and if he can get hot at the right time, it'll be tough for opponents to guard all of Miami's weapons. Another role player that will prove critical to Miami's success is Chris Anderson. Anderson, better known as "Birdman", is the Heat's instant energy source. He is without question Miami's best defender in the post, and he'll be relied upon in big situations down the stretch.
Of course, the Heat will go as far as the big 3 take them. Wade and Bosh handle their business on a nightly basis, picking up for Lebron in the scoring category if need be. For Lebron, he's playing on another level this season. Most analysts would consider this his best all-around season since he entered the league. And the fact that Lebron is not only a scorer separates him from other top NBA players. The Lakers, for example, played much better as a team when Kobe took his foot off of the scoring pedal. But for the Lakers, that strategy just won't work because Kobe lacks size that restricts his rebounding.
The Heat have proved they're serious about getting back to the NBA Finals. It's difficult to find any team in the East that could get in their way. The Heat's next game will be against the New York Knicks, whom the Heat lost to twice this season already. If the Heat can pull off a convincing victory, they'll show any skeptics that they are for real again.
And if you are still a Lebron hater, at least you could appreciate the Heat's approach to basketball and life. If you were expecting to read a Miami Heat article without seeing their recently released Harlem Shake video, you shouldn't have underestimated the power of a viral video.