Before tipoff I was thinking about the next game. You know, the game where we play the same guys we played with last year, led by Mr. "Not 1, Not 2, Not 3". But of course before that game there was this one and I was looking for only one thing: Is this team capable of going over 44 wins? Vegas has Miami down at 44, and anywhere from 4th to 6th seed.
So here's what I saw: Norris Cole started, and even though Coach Erik Spoelstra said not to assume much from this, I like the change of pace Cole offered with the starters. Unfortunately, he didn't produce too much in return with just two points and six assists. On this night, his backup Mario Chalmers provided the spark that Cole is known for instead, with 10 points of his own. Shabazz Napier isn't challenging either of those two for the starter's role, finishing his night with four points, but managed to redeem himself with two clutch free throws at the end of the game.
The forward position is our greatest strength as of now. Luol Deng has some enormous shoes to fill but ended this night nicely, with 18 points and six rebounds, Chris Bosh also had his moments ending the night with 18 points and nine rebounds of his own.
Then there is fan favorite James Ennis. I feel as if all of Heat Nation secretly calls him "LeBron James Ennis" just for the glimmer of hope. Ok maybe that's just me. Ennis competed mostly against backups but he became one of the main reasons why the Heat got back into the game, ending the night with an energetic 14 points and 10 rebounds. The potential this kid has is one that can be special, almost to a level high enough that maybe in a few years from now, Wade can pass off the torch to him. That's the thing about potential; I can say bold statements like that when the ceiling hasn't been reached.
Speaking of Wade, he has yet to find his stride finishing with 11 points, but I have a feeling he will be vintage Wade on Saturday against LeBron, even though it's only pre-season.
In order to beat LeBron, the Heat can't afford going 5-32 from 3-point land. The only time 15% is a good thing is if you're calling Geico for your car insurance. Josh McRoberts still isn't playing due to his big toe and his one of the key pieces needed for the Heat to succeed. Don't believe me? Ask Charlotte.
So back to my question, can the Heat get past 44 wins? As of right now Vegas has it right, but keep in mind we have to see how McRoberts does in our Starting Lineup. All that matters now is the next game, and that's against guys who wore Heat jerseys this time last year.
See you then.