Miami Heat fans had high expectations of defeating LeBron James' new iteration of the "Big 3" after Miami snapped the Boston Celtics 16 game winning streak. But the Heat's 3-point specialists went as cold as an Ohio winter night, and the team's defense left the court for the locker room before the first half was over.
Two seasons ago the Cleveland Cavaliers put together a "Big 3" of a point guard, Kyrie Irving, and two forwards, James and Kevin Love, to win a championship. This time around James stumbled across recreating the same type of threesome he had in Miami, i.e. a shooting guard in Dwyane Wade, James as the forward, and Love as a center/forward, a la Chris Bosh. The unique twist lies in having one part of "Big 3" come off the bench for a seamless 48 minutes of championship basketball.
In last night’s 108-97 loss, the first half’s annihilation extinguished the Heat’s fire. The second half reignited the flame as Miami got "Bammed" with the contagious energy of Bam Adebayo, aka Edrice in Cleveland. Perhaps he'll serve as the much-needed catalyst to save the season for the Heat. Christmas may have arrived early in Miami.
Pat Riley once told Erik Spoelstra, "You figure it out," when asked about how to distribute the player's minutes. Adebayo's role on the team remains a work in progress, but at least there was evidence of progress versus the Cavaliers. Using the same five starters for the last 10 games lead to the cliche of familiarity breeding contempt, as well as breeding complacency among them. The Cleveland no-show exposed the truly mediocre talent level of the Heat compared to what’s needed to bring the championship trophy back to 601 Biscayne Blvd.
The awakening in Ohio was needed to jolt some energy into the Miami players: their Seventh Army either brings the game into the other team's face, or they wither into the mediocrity of repeating their 41-41 record from last season. Perhaps Miami became a "Happy Place," where everyone was having a great time swimming among the sharks of the NBA. Bam could be the lifeguard who overlooks the waters of South Beach and rescues the season for the Miami Heat with his scintillating athletic energy.