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Miami Heat’s new team-first identity in the post Big-3 era

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Miami is winning without superstars and that suits them just fine.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat barely etched out a win Monday versus the Minnesota Timberwolves following a mandatory Super Bowl party for the squad, when they lost their focus after a first-half offensive eruption.

Bringing back the ghosts of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James doesn’t acknowledge that the identity of today’s Heat team is just as important to today’s fans as any previous version, no matter how legendary they were.

Miami has their max player, Hassan Whiteside, paying the NBA fine for his teammate James Johnson after a flagrant foul, proving his actions spoke louder than his words.

Rodney McGruder makes up for middling talent with clutch plays, a tenacious will to win and a knack for playing intelligently off the ball.

Okaro White still hasn’t lost a game in a Heat uniform playing Miami-style basketball of defense leading to offense.

Goran Dragic made the team a point-guard driven one, instead of focusing on shooting guard heroics.

Dion Waiters sprains an ankle, yet laces up and refuses to abandon his teammates in a tight game against Minnesota.

Miami’s star power may have left for now, but the commitment to a team-first mindset may account for the unexpected 11-game winning streak from team short on talent, but huge on working together for a common goal.

Better yet, staying under the radar gives the Heat an advantage to filter out all the noise and drama which surrounds other teams and concentrate on playing together and knowing their spots on the court for open looks and lockdown defense.

To paraphrase Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, eat, sleep, basketball brings home the medals.