By Craig Fields
Which team in the East poses the biggest threat to the defending NBA Champions? Inquiring minds would like to know, I’m sure. But with the Miami Heat scorching the league right now on this seemingly endless win streak, it becomes difficult trying to think of anyone who might have a legitimate chance. Many analysts and experts think the Indiana Pacers are the main challenge to the Miami Heat’s current Eastern Conference crown. Some are even saying that because of the physicality Indiana brings to the court every night, they would be the favorites to win a 7 game series with the Heat. While I do think that the first statement is true, actually saying that the Indiana Pacers are going to beat the Miami Heat is something different entirely. Those people are mistaken. However you want to put it, they are just flat out wrong.
Let’s get this straight right now. The biggest threat to the Miami Heat is the Miami Heat. Period. End of discussion. Many people and fans thought that this is how the Heat would perform when the “Big 3” first got together. If the Miami Heat are Clark Kent, the Indiana Pacers definitely are not their kryptonite.
Complacency. Entitlement. These would be their forms of kryptonite. Knowing you are the best can have benefits, but can also have negative consequences as well. So far they are saying all of the right things. LeBron went on record as saying, “It’s not really in the back of my head or anything like what number we’d like to hit”. If it hit a league record, I mean that’s crazy if we did at some point. We don’t want to lose, but we’re going to play each and every game and not worry about it.” But then again, people tend to say the right things when the public’s eye is on them. This journalist tends to look deeper than generic statements and ear candy humility.
During this win streak, the Miami Heat have found themselves on the wrong end of the lead during games against teams that even the Charlotte Bobcats would say, “Oh we can blow them out”. Speaking of Charlotte, Miami squeaked by them with a victory of only five points during this win streak. Orlando and Cleveland were all tough games that went right down to the wire as well.
Did the Miami Heat phone it in a little bit? Did they attempt to cruise to the finish line because they were facing a “lesser” opponent? Or were they simply tired and worn out? I honestly cannot tell you one way or the other. But I will say that with Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dewayne Wade all producing career numbers, the only thing that seems able to stop the locomotive that is the Miami Heat is ultimately themselves.