The Debate Rages On...
I don't think I'm alone here, but does anyone else feel themselves rooting against the Miami Heat every chance they get? I don't mean to just go out and be a hater, but the Heat are like that one guy you just can't stand. He thinks he’s flat out better than everyone else before proving a thing. The Heat, crowned themselves world champions back in June. In fact I think LeBron James named the Heat champions for the next 3, 4,5,6,7 years? Let’s try and get one before we start getting multiple rings. He's certainly no Kobe Bryant, yea I went there. The LeBron vs. Kobe debate has been debated feverishly pretty much ever since James first entered the league. Kobe Bryant has multiple rings and is argued to be one of, if not the, best closer in the game. The Heat I believe are now 1-15 in close games coming down to a game winning shot, and their game winning shot percentage is one of the lowest in the league amongst the Clippers and Rockets. Being grouped into anything with the Clippers that doesn't include Blake Griffin is never a good thing. Also, Bryant has multiple rings. Oh that’s right he had Shaq with him for some, then Pau Gasol. He also had Phil Jackson coaching him. Well, all you Kobe haters don't have an argument if James fails to win a ring with the Miami Heat with the help of Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. But, they're being coached by Erik Spoelstra! Please. James runs that show, and if anything Spoelstra consults only one man when he has to make a hard decision. Pat Riley. Mr. three-peat himself. I can't argue that James isn't a remarkable player statistically. Statistically he's arguably one of, if not the, best player in the NBA right now. Some wouldn't even say there's an argument. One stat you can't measure though is heart. I know that sounds corny, but have you ever seen LeBron James grit his teeth in the playoffs and say this is my team, and I am going to take over? The answer is no. The lasting impression I will always have of LeBron James is him ripping off his Cleveland Cavaliers jersey at the end of his 2010 playoff run after a lackluster effort. What image do I have of Kobe Bryant? Bryant standing on a podium with his championship hat on with the championship trophy in one hand, and the MVP trophy in the other. It doesn't get much better than that. The Heat lack heart, which is expected from a team that crowned themselves world champions in June. They may have said the right things, but we all could tell what they really thought. Just on paper real quick let’s compare to the Heat to the Lakers. We'll just base it off a common opponent like, oh I don't know, the best team in the league, the San Antonio Spurs. The Heat were killed by the Spurs after Tony Parker had apparently visited the healing waters of the river walk and returned to the floor just a day after an injury that was supposed to keep him on the sidelines for 2-4 weeks. Within days, the Lakers played the same San Antonio team and dismantled them on national television. (The Heat game was also nationally televised, but of course it was, it is after all the Heat) This loss really shouldn't surprise many, since after Sunday's loss against the Bulls, the Heat are 1-8 against the top teams in the league. Two of these losses came against one of the most underrated and non talked about teams in the league, the Dallas Mavericks, just oh by the way. Oh and both wins were right when the Heat were streaking and the Mavericks ended their streak, just saying. The Heat fails to match up against the best competition in the league. A team that is supposed to be the best of the best, a team that is certainly supposed to have the best talent, and a team that is supposed to have two of the best closers in the game fail to win against tough competition, and fail to come in in the clutch. A huge discussion has erupted about the Heat, and who should take the last shot to win the game. Well, here's my opinion. First off, why does the most talented team in the league have to win every game by two or three points? (Well, at least having to attempt to win every game by two or three points). Second off, the isolation for LeBron isn't working, sorry. Everyone knows its coming. James failed to get around Joakim Noah Sunday night to win the game against the Bulls. He took a very well contested, acrobatic lay-up over one of the best shot blockers in the league and missed horribly. Are you telling me James couldn't have easily hit a step back mid-range jumper for the game winner? That shot should be automatic, especially for one of the best scorers in the game, statistically. Third off, why not let the man who is open shoot the shot? Sounds pretty simple to me. You have surrounded James and Wade with the best shooters you could find on the market, yet are never used in the clutch. Mario Chalmers hit a clutch three-pointer against the Bulls to tie the game with less than 2 minutes to go in the game. He has proven time and time again, dating back to his days in Kansas that he can certainly hit clutch shots. What is the worst he could do? Miss an uncontested three-pointer? It’s a much better look than an isolation drive everyone sees coming against some of the best shot blockers in the league. Fourth, and finally, what is the point of the addition of Mike Bibby, or better yet, any point guard on the Miami Heat? LeBron James is going to bring the ball up in the clutch. No plays are going to be called, because you have your forward bringing up the ball. Everyone else in the game stands around watching LeBron try to do his thing. They might as well sit in the first row and watch, or could they sit next to Mike Bibby who in the clutch was sitting next to...Erik Spoelstra. A coach now speaks of his team crying in the locker room. Talk about a team with no heart. I won't make too big of a deal out of this, but it just speaks that these guys expected to have everything handed to them. NBA players don't back down, they are all competitors, and when they see they are playing the self-proclaimed best team in the league, they are going to play their hardest. I don't see many Heat players playing hard, and it seems like they don't want to. The fact that the tears are flowing as March begins, speaks that these players feel that they cannot achieve their goal, and that they will actually have to work for something instead of having it given to them. Now, I will have to say that Dwayne Wade is a hustler. He will get after you on defense, and for one defensive series for the Heat, guarded three different players, and then chased down the man with the ball from behind for a shot block. That is what that team is missing, some excitement. Yes, a team with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade is missing excitement. It’s hard to wrap your head around, but sadly it’s the truth. The fans in Miami are starting to discover Dallas Cowboy fan syndrome. When your team has the ball late in a close game, you expect your team to lose. You expect Romo to throw an interception, or Newman to give up a long pass. You expect LeBron to call an isolation for himself and miss the game winner yet again. Its gut checks time for everyone in the Heat organization. They are figuring out that it takes a lot to be world champions; you can't just crown yourself in June because you have made the decision to unite yourself two other players that were the star for their team. The heat resemble the kind of guy that picks a fight with someone smaller than them, and gets knocked out cold because they underestimate their opponent. Just because the Heat walk in with El Heat across their jersey doesn't mean they are going to automatically another tally in the W column. Los Bulls certainly weren't afraid of them. MVP candidate Derrick Rose wasn't scared at all, and remained humble thanking his teammates after the victory, and realized that this is just one game and that the Bulls have a long way to making it to the championship series. Remember that LeBron James has yet to earn a championship ring. Kobe Bryant has earned multiple championship rings. Kobe had Shaq, well, so did LeBron. LeBron now has Wade and Bosh, and his team fails to get it done. The debate rages on about Kobe or LeBron. If you could have the best of both worlds, you would take James the first three quarters, and Bryant in the 4th, because Bryant is arguably the best closer in the game. He knows when to pull up for a mid-range jumper, and even manages to dish to the likes of Derek Fisher or Ron Artest for pivotal last second shots. If this is a debate about best player, then how do you not judge by championship rings? LeBron could end up like the likes of Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, one of the best of all time, but without a ring. So I'm going to have to side with Kobe Bryant on this one, and until some heart and determination from the Heat, they just don't measure up to the best teams in the league.