By BETO HOYOS
In the last two years, the Miami Heat have revamped their image as champions. Miami remains comfortably at the top of the basketball world.
Back-to-back NBA titles don’t just happen: they’re earned. A third consecutive title is the goal for LeBron James and company this season.
A three-peat will occur for several reasons.
First, let’s talk about the defense. When the “big three” of James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade came together, analysts and pundits were quick to criticize the Heat’s defense, or lack thereof.
In the last two championship seasons, the Heat have become notorious for their proficient D, especially James and his famous chase-down blocks.
At the end of the Heat’s 2012-13 playoff run, James totaled 18 blocks. Bench contributors like Chris “Birdman” Andersen finished the playoffs with 22 blocks.
Another weapon Miami had in its arsenal is three-point shooting. Last season the Heat thrived from beyond the arc and were second in the league in three-point percentage at 39.6 percent.
The pivotal snipers last season were Shane Battier and Ray Allen, who both shot above 40 percent from three-point land. This season’s forecast for Miami should predict a storm of threes in South Beach.
Players who were looked on to contribute in any situation last season included the fiery Andersen, Battier and third-year reserve Norris Cole.
In the playoff series against the Chicago Bulls, Cole had two consecutive games in which he scored 18 points off the bench to propel Miami over Chicago.
The role players who came off the bench pitched in critical minutes. Miami has been recognized as a cohesive force around the league in past years.
All players bought into the “team-first” philosophy and share the load regardless of the marquee names.
The cornerstone to this Heat dynasty, the four-time regular season MVP, the back-to-back finals MVP, King James himself, is my closing argument to why Miami will three-peat.
Last season, James’ scoring average, three-point shots and free throw percentages all increased. James has become our generation’s equivalent to Michael Jordan and he’s still improving.
As a basketball fanatic, I’m excited to see what the future holds for James and the Heat.
It’s been clear to see that it’s the Heat’s world. The rest of us are just playing in it.
Filed Under: Sports
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