Fast Forward – 2014 NBA Playoffs Preview

Justin Bieber

I know the technology has been around for a decade, but only for the last year have I realized my cable came equipped with DVR. On the one hand for watching sporting events it’s fantastic. You no longer have to be a slave to the schedule. You can catch the game at your convenience and with the fast forwarding capabilities a two and a half hour commitment to a basketball game and three hours to a football game is whittled down to sixty minutes. But there are other hands involved with Digital Video Recording sporting events.

You seem like a total spaz when you are out in society and put your hands over your ears while shouting “Don’t tell me the score!” any time you hear someone utter the word basketball. You must avoid all social media. Worst of all when your team is struggling during a portion of the game, you find yourself fast forwarding until the score gets to be more to your liking.

The Miami Heat have had a similar philosophy toward basketball this past season. Disinterested, lazy and seeming to wish they could fast forward to the more interesting, important parts.

Now April is here and we can see if the regular season has any relevance whatsoever. The Miami Heat spent the season avoiding defense, jacking up three pointers instead of driving to the basket, and not paying attention to their teammates throwing them the ball. This led to twelve less victories than the nearly identical roster earned last year which means the Heat will not have home court advantage if they face the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals, nor against their likely opponents in the Finals. This is a big deal.

Last year the Heat needed game 7s at home to beat the Pacers and the Spurs. While I do not think this will affect the outcome against the Pacers this year who were only in that series because of heinous officiating and are likely to be knocked out before facing the Heat, I do think the San Antonio Spurs will be able to take advantage of whatever mysterious hoodoo that causes teams to play better at home to beat the Heat in this June’s Finals. Last year’s Heat team which was focused and disciplined needed a minor miracle to survive that series. This year’s edition was fat and lazy, making it hard to have much hope for them. There was an 8 game win streak in February where it looked like the Heat might be about to turn it on, but in the last victory where LeBron James scored an amazing 61 points, the team seemed to give up on the season. Winning 11 games and losing a depressing 14 games. During that time Chris Bosh decided he would only shoot three pointers, Dwyane Wade would sit out any day where he ate too much gassy food, and LeBron James treated defense like an allergy.

I know like Justin Bieber (though less wealthy and taller) I am a spoiled Heat fan to have watched two championship teams in a row, three Finals appearances in a row, and still want more, but this team has so much talent it is a shame not to utilize it. Or maybe I am one of the last true Pat Riley disciples who lives by his quote about basketball, “There is winning… and there is misery.”

 

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