Before facing the Golden State Warriors, ESPN's Dave McMenamin quotes Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue as saying about LeBron James, "I don't think he's been in this position before where he can just sit back and see the flow of the game, see where he has to take over the game and it's been great for him."
The current Cavaliers team has not won any championship rings yet, so unless the standard of excellence is simply "sitting back and watching the flow of the game," Lue has a different view of what makes teams great. The Warriors have yet to have their say on the final outcome of the Cavaliers' season.
After the Warriors won 73 games and Stephen Curry garnered the MVP trophy by a first-ever unanimous vote, sounds like Lue and James have Curry envy, where getting a record-setting 73 wins during the regular season doesn't matter anymore.
According to some people, Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra and Wade's efforts in the formation of legendary Heat teams from 2011 to 2014 will be perceived as a second-rate accomplishment compared to the team James is part of now. What the Heat lacked in talent last season, they make up in heart and smarts.
Was the Heat team with James, Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, etc. inferior to the current Cavaliers squad? Cleveland lost two games before facing the Warriors, so they may be feeling nearly invincible after going 12-2 against Eastern Conference teams. The Heat lost seven games to the Hornets and Raptors, but they were higher seeds than the Pistons or Hawks, whom the Cavaliers dominated.
The Cavaliers faced only a single a top-three team from the east in the postseason, while Heat were sharp in dealing with two of them. Playing the second and fourth East seeds to a draw showed that, when the chips are down, the Heat have what it takes to demonstrate they are contenders when it matters most.
If any motivation was needed to overcome the Toronto Raptors' homecourt advantage, Lue's quotes made Riley and company demand a showdown in Cleveland even more of a priority. Though the Heat's playoff quest ultimately failed, they displayed true grit in their two series. Who knows how a Heat versus Cavaliers would have gone.