Terry Pluto, on LeBron and the Heat:

After Sunday’s game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said there were guys “crying in the locker room.” That kind of remark can eventually help get a coach fired. He meant it as a sign that his players care. But it is raw meat for a media starving to talk about how the Heat are spoiled and soft.

As K. Vinson emailed: “Miami has to finish at 12-7 just to win 55 games.”

At the start of the season, 55 victories was a given, 60 were expected.

Spoelstra added that, “It’s not a matter of want [to win].”

Coach, yes it is … and you know it. Yes, these guys want to win — but win their way.

Any person with basic basketball knowledge realizes Miami could fix its late-game misery with a simple play. Wade dribbles the ball at the top of the key — and James sets a pick. Then James rolls to the basket, which will cause any defense major problems. Wade either has an open jumper, or James can catch a pass for a layup.

But as Cavs fans know, James rarely set picks. He loathes the pick-and-roll unless he has the ball. Over the years, he often waived off a pick and preferred to play 1-on-1 with four teammates watching in clutch situations.

He does the same with the Heat.

Until this past winter, I played in a church league with roughly the same team for the past 3-4 years.

We sucked.

Oh, there were guys on the team that were good players, but we had no cohesion and we routinely got beat by less athletic (re: older) teams.

What was frustrating was that during these games, many of my teammates scoffed at these older guys. Short, fat, bald… these guys would’ve been picked last if we were playing pickup (while many of my teammates would’ve gone early).

Needless to say, it was frustrating. My teammates seemed to think that just because they could take these guys in one-on-one, that their team sucked and we should have no problem. Then we’d lose by 20-40 points because somehow taking quick threes and driving into the teeth of the defense didn’t produce good shots.

It’s really too bad we were playing a team sport rather than a one-on-one tournament. You need to play together and compliment each others skill sets.  That’s why Pierce, Allen and KG work so well together. They all have a different style of game and they don’t get in each other’s way.

This is something that Miami is still figuring out. But they’ll get it. This is the first year of a six year experiment. They got time. This is still a really good basketball team.

It’ll take actual sacrifices (time to set some picks Bron-Bron!) but if they really want it, they have all talent to get there.

But it is fun watching them struggle. Won’t lie about that.

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4 Responses to Heh

  1. Erik says:

    But as Windy said on Rizzo this morning, they didn’t get together for a process. They got together to dominate the league on an historic level for six years.

    Every year that they’re not spellbindingly awesome for 82 games plus playoffs is a problem. That’s what’s in the fine print for these guys.

    (Also, LBJ might want to work on not being intimidated by the likes of Joakim Noah.)

  2. Ben says:

    Especially since the media shit on LeBron’s coach and teammates during his time in Cleveland (“The Cleveland LeBron’s” LOLOLOLOLOLOL).

    I don’t think LeBron really appreciated what he had here (obviously). Winning games is hard working. Playing with and around LeBron is hard work. Standing 23 feet from the hoop waiting for a pass isn’t how most of these guys grew up playing basketball. Some guys could do it, others couldn’t.

    I feel like they traded Bosh and LeBron to Miami in NBA2K10 and saw how good they were, so they decided to do it in real life. And now they’re surprised that it wasn’t as easy as it was on PS3.

  3. Ben says:

    and for the record, I know it’s a different environment that LeBron and the Heat are facing this year (scrutiny, booing, etc) compared to last year’s Cavs (same as you can’t point to this years shitty Cavs team and be like “look, LeBron was playing with scrubs!”. But it goes to show you how good those teams were. As in, LeBron left a very very very good team to go play in Miami.

  4. Erik says:

    This Miami team is unquestionably more talented at the front end, but those Cavs teams were built around LeBron. And you can make a case that they went deeper with better talent. There’s not anyone close to an Andy Varejao coming off the bench for the Heat.

    That’s why it worked better. The dynamic was more natural, but LeBron apparently didn’t like it because he felt like he was lugging the expectations of a franchise around singlehandedly.

    The fact that he didn’t want that responsibility pretty much tells you everything you need to know about LeBron. Maybe it’s immaturity and he’ll grow out of it. Or maybe he’s just an emotional lightweight. But at this point in time, he can’t be the centerpiece of a championship team. And going to that team dynamic in Miami has screwed him up even more.

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