Even after not making the playoffs last year, the Miami Heat have a lot of reasons to believe things will be different this year. Last year was an awkward year for Miami because they had to transition to life without LeBron James, but this year things seem to be settling down and Miami has found their identity without LeBron. High expectations and hopes are in the air for this team.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are still both very important cogs to the success of the Miami Heat. Back in February, Chris Bosh was diagnosed with blood-clots in his lungs. Not only was his playing career in question, but his life was in serious threat. During this time, Wade saw Bosh in the hospital with tubes in his side and his future unclear. The Miami Heat had a game later that night, but it certainly was not what Wade was worried about.
“That became bigger than the game,” Wade said. “I think we had a game that day. I went up to sit with him. Basketball didn’t matter at that moment … no one knew how sick he was and how sick he was going to be. It was scary.”
After such a traumatic life-threatening experience, one must wonder if Bosh could ever return to normalcy.
Going from not knowing if he will live, to being able to play again in less than a year, to then playing, Bosh appreciates basketball on a much higher level. Last Wednesday was the season opener for Miami and was also Bosh’s first regular season NBA game in 258 days. He looked like he never missed a second of action. He ended the night notching a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds on 5-13 shooting. Bosh and Dwyane Wade, who scored 20 points and had 5 assists, led the Heat to a 109-94 victory over the Hornets. Ball movement and shooting were the strong qualities in this game, with Miami shooting 12-20 from behind the arc.
Their next matchup was against the Cleveland Cavaliers last Friday, but big performances from LeBron James and Kevin Love helped the Cavs seal a 102-92 victory over LeBron’s former team. Dwyane Wade was able to put up 25 points on 8-15 shooting, but he also committed 7 turnovers. Chris Bosh was second in scoring with 16 points but was only able to corral 5 rebounds. It was the Heat bench that struggled going 7-23 from the field and none of them being able to score in double-digits.
The rebounding effort from the Miami Heat in this game was poor and definitely something they could be lacking in all season. Miami better hope that their lousy rebounding numbers last season leaving them last in the league was because of Bosh’s absence for much of the season. Winning is much harder for teams that don’t rebound. The Heat are going to have to count on what they have and hope for the best. In a weak Eastern Conference, Miami could still have a chance to enter the post-season if rebounding ends up to be their only problem.
Throughout the first two games it is evident that Miami is still heavily invested in the play of their veterans Bosh and Wade. With improved health, Bosh seems to be finding himself quickly and Dwyane Wade is not on a minutes restriction. The Heat need Dwyane Wade to stay healthy. He isn’t as quick as he used to be, but as seen in the last two games, he can still be a legitimate scorer through his craftiness. Bosh and Wade’s status will be an important factor to give the Heat a chance to get back to the playoffs.
Miami has brought back much of the roster that failed to make the playoffs last year, but missing Bosh for most of the season was the biggest disadvantage. Bosh is the centerpiece for the Miami Heat. He is one of the best defensive bigs in the league and offensively is able to knock down shots, move the ball around the perimeter, and pick and roll/pop. With him back to complement the starters in Hassan Whiteside – who is a year older and stronger –, Goran Dragic, and Luol Deng, the Heat definitely have the talent to create some havoc.
“You’ve got to have that mentality,” Wade said going into this season. “If you don’t believe that you can get there, then you’re already defeated, then you won’t be there. Every team around the league right now is going to have championship aspirations.”
The pieces are there for the Miami Heat, it’s just about putting it all together. This roster has been built in a way where not one player has to shoulder too much of the responsibility. They drafted Justin Winslow who gets to play coming off the bench and also have solid depth in Mario Chalmers, Josh McRoberts, Udonis Haslem, and Chris Andersen. Wade has had his longest offseason in several years, and Whiteside has the potential to breakout even more than he did last season. As the long season unfolds, do not be surprised if the Miami Heat quietly creep up the standings.
photo via llananba