Watching the Miami Heat clobber their opponents over the last couple weeks has me convinced that the NBA is scripted entertainment. The fact that this team of supremely skilled athletes somehow did not win a championship last year still makes no sense unless the outcome was fixed. The powers that be must have decided that the 2012 storyline of whether the Miami Heat could come through with a championship would draw more viewers than the less complex question of by how many points would they smother their opponents.
For this year the Heat look every bit as invincible as they should have been last season. Poor shot selection with needless three point attempts has mostly disappeared from their arsenal. Their coach Erik Spoelstra has avoided the silly substitutions and play calling that plagued the first three years of his coaching career (although I still cringe at the beginning of every second quarter when he decides to sit Dwyane Wade and LeBron James at the same time and the opposing team always goes on a run). That trouble they had last season where they would find ways to lose close games is no longer an issue as games are never close.
Things seem perfect. Too perfect. My only worry is that the producers of this entertainment might decide to add some conflict so a broader audience outside of Miami Heat fans can enjoy the basketball season. So I will instead live in the moment and enjoy the most creative, freakishly athletic, and entertaining basketball that has ever been played.
Some highlights from the first 34 games of the abbreviated 2012 season…
The borderline racist defense played against New York Knickerbocker sensation Jeremy Lin. Lin got so much publicity from his come from nowhere success, but when he came to Miami, the Heat’s stifling defense targeted Lin changing the ending of the Cinderella story so she missed the ball and was left at home washing dishes.
LeBron James’ passing from out of bounds. His precise creativity even in this most basic of plays makes me wish LeBron could also be the quarterback of my beloved and awful Miami Dolphins. In Minnesota he won a game in the last second by finding a cutting Wade heading for the basket for the winning score. Even more amazing was against the Detroit Pistons when James threaded a one handed behind the back pass to Mike Miller for an easy lay-up.
The speed and fearlessness of rookie sensation Norris Cole. Cole, who I affectionately dubbed the Young Fellow, is too quick to be scared of any situation. Shot clock winding down? Young Fellow won’t just take the shot, he’ll make the shot.
The crazy alley-oops. The passers aren’t very careful in how high and wide they throw the lobs. Wade is able to maneuver his body to bounce the ball off the backboard for two points and James is able to jump to any height to catch the ball and ram it through the hoop. At one point he literally jumped so high that his feet went over a Chicago Bull’s head to dunk the ball.
Most amazing moment yet? A triple overtime win against the playoff contending Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta is a step above mediocre, but what made this game so amazing was the Heat won it without Wade or James playing. Bosh made a miracle three pointer to take the game into overtime and the Heat supporting cast played with enough heart and hustle to steal the win.
I’m excited to see what the creative forces writing the NBA season have in store for us over the next few months. No surprise twists please.