After the opening night win on Tuesday night, there was nothing but praise for the Miami Heat. Not only was it a big W to start out the season, but it came against the ever-so-hated Chicago Bulls. It was also ring night, the Miami Heat received their 2013 NBA championship rings, from when they were able to defeat the San Antonio Spurs in a classic seven-game series.
Miami has won back to back championships and they played like champions on Tuesday night, spoiling Bulls star Derrick Rose's return to action, after missing last season with an ACL injury.
The very next night Miami went on the road to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. For precautionary reasons, Heat star Dwyane Wade sat the game out, and Roger Mason Jr. started in Wade's place. Although just 24 hours earlier, the Miami Heat received their rings and played like champions, they did not look like the same team for much of Wednesday's game against the 76ers.
As soon as the game started, before head coach Erik Spoelstra could even blink, his team was down 19-0, and at one point, 26 to 4. Regardless of who you're playing, starting out a game losing 19 to zero is unacceptable. Especially if you are the Miami Heat playing against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Much of the credit for the 76ers win can be given to rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who was selected with the 11th overall pick in last years NBA Draft. In his NBA debut, Carter-Williams was very impressive, as he finished the game with 22 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds, and most impressively...9 steals. NINE STEALS. Sometimes it's your night, and sometimes it isn't. For Michael Carter-Williams and the Philadelphia 76ers, it was their night. I know Carter-Williams is a great talent, but I would highly doubt he could produce a stat line like that sometime soon.
Although Dwyane Wade did not play in the game, Miami has enough talent to beat Philadelphia without Wade, and that should not be an excuse for the loss.
Then came last night, as the Heat went on the road again to take on the new-look Brooklyn Nets, or as I like to call them, the old-look Nets, as nothing about their starting five is "new" or "young." Dwyane Wade returned to action for this one, but that did not matter, as Miami lost their second straight game, which was the first time they have done so since January. On Wednesday, Miami lost too, but to a valiant effort by Michael Carter-Williams. Against Brooklyn though, there was no monster stat-line by anyone, as the scoring by the Nets was evenly distributed.
Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson led the way with 19 points, and Brook Lopez finished with 13.
As for Miami, LeBron James had 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Dwyane Wade finished with 21 points, and Chris Bosh contributed 17. It wasn't an off night from the Big 3 that cost them the game, but it was the lack of bench scoring.
Miami's bench has been labeled as one of the best benches in the NBA, but they did not play like it on Friday night, as they were only able to score 22 points, as the Brooklyn Nets were able to score 37.
This wasn't the kind of start to the season the Miami Heat were hoping for, but it is what it is. As of now, Miami finds themselves in a unfamiliar position, under .500 record, and back to back losses.
But fear not, Miami Heat fans, every little thing is going to be alright.
I know losing isn't fun, especially when you're the defending champions, but there is no need to panic or be upset. The season isn't even a week old yet, there is plenty of time. The Miami Heat should still be able to make the playoffs despite their losing record.
OK, you all should know that was a joke, and a bit of an exaggeration.
The next game is a home game against a team who isn't off to the greatest of starts either, as they currently have an 0-2 record....the Washington Wizards. A perfect opportunity for the Miami Heat to rebound and get a winning streak going. After that, Miami will go on the road to play the Toronto Raptors, which is a very winnable game. Next will be a tougher test, a home game against the Los Angeles Clippers, which will be nationally televised by TNT. That will be Game 1 of a 4 game home stand for the Heat, as it will feature games against the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Dallas Mavericks. Those are all games the Heat will be heavily favored to win.
So as of now, a 5 game winning streak is very likely. Up next is a road game against the Charlotte Bobcats...make that a 6 game winning streak.
They will finish up the month of November with 3 more home games, and 3 away games. The three home games will be against the Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, and the Phoenix Suns. Meanwhile, Miami will go on the road to play the Orlando Magic (who they play on back to back games), Toronto Raptors, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, as LeBron will make another appearance against his former team.
In conclusion, don't panic just yet. The rest of November's schedule is a rather easy one for the Miami Heat, and they are very capable of winning out the rest of the month. Last year we saw them go on a 27 game winning streak, and this month might be the beginning of yet another high winning streak.