The Miami Heat are the most talented team in basketball, hands down. They have three bona-fide all-stars and a mix of solid role players. When playing focused and under the gun, they have the potential to be just spectacular. But, the Heat are down 3-2 against a team everyone counted out in the Dallas Mavericks. Failure is imminent in Miami because of mental errors, cockiness, and sheer stupidity on the part of the Heat.
It was evident before the season even started. When the "Big 3" came out to American Airlines Arena in a celebration for "winning" free agency, there was a lot of flexing muscles and big talk, like the promise of "8 championships." The Heat entered the season cocky, sure that they would roll over the competition. All this did was put a huge bulls-eye on their back. They made themselves the villains, the super-talented team everyone wanted to take down, and this caused the Heat to struggle mightily out of the gate. They were beat repeatedly by high character teams like Boston and Chicago. The Heat's attitude was perfectly put by Chris Bosh near the beginning of the season: "Coach Spo wants to work, and the players want to chill. We've just got to meet somewhere in the middle." Not believing you have to work? That is flat out believing you are better than everyone else.
Despite all the distractions, the Heat finished with a solid 58-24 record, good for second in the East. They blew through the Sixers and the Celtics, and toughened up to beat a young, hungry Bulls team in 5 games. Fast forward to midway through the 4th quarter in game two of the finals. Miami is up by 15, they are at home, and have all the momentum. It looks like Dallas is about to fall into a nearly insurmountable 0-2 hole. After a Dwayne Wade 3, him and LeBron do a little dance right in front of the Mavericks bench. Dallas then proceeds to storm back and win the game, taking the momentum of the series. The Heat's cockiness, stupidity, or whatever one wants to call it vaulted the Mavericks back into the series. Many people thought they had seen the last of the mental errors. But, the best was yet to come.
In game 4, Dirk willed the Mavericks to victory while battling against a 102 degree fever. While traveling to game 5, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade mocked Dirk's gutsy performance. Check it out, it is all over the internet. Dallas proceeded to win game 5, as Wade sat out with an injury for much of the game and LeBron, once again, failed in the fourth quarter. The stage was set for this display by LeBron and Dwyane's irresponsible comments. Why would you give a team, before a pivitol game 5, bulletin board material? This is the biggest game of LeBron's life, and he feels the need to fire up the other team by talking smack? In the big moments, the true character of the Heat is beginning to show. When LeBron came to the Heat, he brought the greatest talent in the world. But he also brought a sense of entitlement and an attitude ill-fitting of a winner, an attitude that was not there when it was only Wade and one that has corrupted the team.
At the end of the day all that matters is winning. If the Heat could even begin to match their brains with their talent, they would no doubt win it all. But, failure is imminent in Miami. Even without any further mental lapses or ignorant remarks, the damage has already been done, and a flawed team will probably not be able to stand against the single-minded, motivated Mavericks. LeBron tweeted before game 5 that it is "Now or Never." Well, due to Miami's mental incompetence, it could be never.
What's the Point is a column written by David Straple. Feel free to comment.