The Miami Heat are a top-4 team in the Eastern Conference, but the 8th-place Philadelphia 76ers have two nominees in the top-ten list. Miami defeated the Milwaukee Bucks with Giannis Antetokounmpo twice within a week, yet get less respect than a 23-21 team in seventh-place.
The Boston Celtics have one starter, the Toronto Raptors another, the Cleveland Cavaliers a senior-citizen member and defense-less forward. The other six players in the Eastern Conference starter pool aren’t members of the top-four Eastern Conference playoff club.
I view the results as validating Erik Spoelstra’s approach of a win-first mentality. The Heat defeated the New York Knicks, the Toronto Raptors, the Indiana Pacers. Scott Brooks said after the Wizards lost to Charlotte Hornets,
“We’re just going to have to find guys who are going to compete. It’s not about nothing else,” said Brooks, who then started to raise his voice. “It’s not about shots. It’s not about how many minutes. It’s not about how many shots you get. It’s about competing. We all get paid to compete regardless. Things aren’t going your way offensively. It’s not about that. It’s about competing, and we didn’t do that tonight.”
The Heat’s next challenge lies against the Brooklyn Nets, aka the Brooklyn Bruisers, who made mince-meat of the nonexistent Heat guard’s defense in their last meeting. The return of James Johnson and Justise Winslow hopefully makes Miami competitive this time around in the wintry borough of New York City.
The All-Star voting results suggests hero-ball doesn’t always result in players bringing home a victory. Success against the Brooklyn Bruisers and Charlotte Hornets will show the NBA voters the Heat cannot be disrespected any longer.
Playoff teams receive the national attention they deserve for putting the work into winning games. For Miami it starts in Brooklyn tomorrow.