Every other first round series across the board have been highly competitive. In fact one can strongly argue through the first week alone that this has been the best week of playoff basketball the league has ever had. I mean who would've called the #1 seeded Indiana Pacers locked in a struggle with the Atlanta Hawks, while the San Antonio Spurs (who could easily be down 3-0) being taken to task vs. their rival Dallas Mavericks. Those are just a few examples.
Yes, the back to back NBA champs have done their due diligence, stayed the course and with a 98-85 Game 3 victory Saturday night they have now pushed the competitive, yet clearly overmatched, Charlotte Bobcats to the brink of playoff elimination. In fact Miami is the only team thus far to reach this point in their respective series.
That also means on Monday night, Miami must slam the door shut on Charlotte's season.
As many of us have all stated and debated over the course of this season, one of the biggest challenges surrounding a potential "3-peat" was whether the Heat would even have the legs to do so. Let's not forget, Miami (including this season) have played an additional 70 postseason games over the course of the last 4 years. That means it would be in the best interest to close things out. And it seems like everyone in the Miami Heat locker room concurs.
"This series is not over. We need to focus and make adjustments, improve and come out better in Game 4."
"We don't want this series (with Charlotte) to go longer than it needs to go and leave anything to chance."
Coach Erik Spoelstra
Even Chris Bosh jokingly responded about the prospect of the Heat possibly acquiring more rest should they complete a 4 game sweep of the Bobcats.
"We like rest."
Here's what Miami accomplishes if they close out this series Monday night. At earliest the Miami Heat will have probably five days of rest while they await the winner of the Toronto Raptors/Brooklyn Nets series and the longer that series goes (which seem highly likely), the more needed rest Miami gets. And while sometimes too much rest can equal rust, in this case with a Heat team vying for a 4th straight Finals berth and ultimately a 3rd consecutive NBA title, you take any break you can get.
Expect once again for Charlotte to come out for Game 4 with some fight as they have shown in many moments throughout this series. But if the Miami Heat continue to play as LeBron James loves to say "Miami Heat basketball" they can shut the door on the Charlotte Bobcats season and focus on the next challenge as they continue their journey back to the mountain top.