Crowned by many as the odds-on favorites to win the NBA title, the Miami Heat have held themselves to very high expectations this season along with every NBA fan. These expectations could not have been higher after their disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. With the Eastern Conference Semi-finals tied at 2 games apiece, they need a stellar performance to maintain the momentum they gained from their Game 4 victory, which was led by the two-headed attack of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. Winning game 5 will not only give Miami a 3-2 series advantage, but it will return that sense of confidence that they felt during the opening round against the New York Knicks, where the Heat dominated all four games that they won.
Miami has a lot going for them heading into Game 5. They are playing on their home court, where they are 4-1 this postseason, the single blemish coming in Game 2 this series against the Pacers. The Heat also enjoyed a 28-5 (84.4%) record at home during the regular season. The bottom line is that Miami is hard to beat at the American Airlines Arena and with the fate of their season on the line you can expect they will come out firing on all cylinders in front of the South Beach Faithful coming off of arguably their most important victory in the ‘Big 3’ era.
The future of the ‘Big 3’ will be questioned, should Miami come up short this postseason. If they cannot win a title now, in their primes, one would question if they could ever win a championship.
Miami needs to play like they have everything to lose, because at three $16 million a year deals for three players anything less than first is unacceptable. Many argue that the lack of depth of the Heat is due to limited cap room because of the deals that Wade, James, and Bosh all have, and what better way to restock your bench is there than to trade away one of these superstars. It makes all the sense in the world. If the “Superfriends” enjoy playing together, they better play like there is no tomorrow; because there may not be.
LeBron is “The King” and Dwayne Wade, playing the proverbial sidekick, are two superstars arguably in the Top 5 players in the league; losing this game, and possibly this series will never be forgotten. Their reputations will forever be tarnished and will never be mentioned in the discussion of the greatest to ever step on the hardwood especially after teaming up to try to win a title. No one wants to be remembered as a 3-time MVP with no rings or a superstar role player or in Bosh’s case, a franchise player who quit on his former team to join a perennial 1 or 2 seed who can’t seal the deal. The Heat are playing for their legacy this postseason and losing tonight could be a death sentence.
A win tonight will require a balanced attack, involving every player who steps on the court. While LeBron, the freight train, that always runs on full steam can handle the heavy work load, Wade will need to continue to play at the level that we all are used to seeing, similar to his performance in the second half of Game 4. Miami will also need Haslem, Miller, and Chalmers to create offense when Wade or LeBron cannot get the rim and get Indiana’s big men in foul trouble. This will be the key for a Heat victory.
That being said, we are in for quite a Game 5 tonight in South Beach, where “The King”, Wade, and the rest of the Heat look to claim their “Throne”.