Photo: Wikimedia Keith Allison
After a disappointing start to the season that had every critic’s attention, the Miami Heat have gone on a seven-game win streak that has bumped their record to 16-8. Each of the wins has been by double digits and the Heat now lead the Southeast Division.Miami is finally starting to look like the title contender that everyone expected. They cruised past Golden State tonight 106-84 and also beat Cleveland in LeBron’s emotional return during the streak.
Miami still hasn’t proven itself against a true contender, but it’s clearly learning how to play as a team. Coach Erik Spoelstra has given LeBron James and Dwyane Wade more time apart and each has been dominant on his own. The chance to be the man and get in a groove seems to be benefiting the duo when they are on the floor together and must sometimes defer to each other.
But most importantly, Miami has been cleaning up on the glass lately, winning the rebounding battle in all seven of its wins. This was the Heat’s biggest problem at the start of the year, and when PF Udonis Haslem went down, Miami briefly hit rock bottom. Since then, the team has made a far greater commitment to rebounding the basketball, led by Wade, who has averaged 9.2 boards in his last five games.
It’s been an obvious concession by Wade that this is LeBron’s offence, that he must dictate the tempo and control the ball. Wade has taken it upon himself to boost his game in other areas, and his improved play has coincided with the Heat’s big run.
Miami might still have problems against a team with significant interior size like the Eastern Conference best Boston Celtics, but they don’t look like they’re going to be losing to Memphis or Indiana again anytime soon. The Heat have arrived, and this season’s NBA roller coaster ride is only going to get more interesting.
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