The Miami Heat won the 2012 NBA championship, but that doesn’t matter anymore. It’s now the 2013 NBA championship that they’re after. With just one game remaining, the Heat sit at 65-16, good for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and the best record in all of basketball.
The big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh improved with the acquisition of Ray Allen in the offseason and Chris Andersen during the season. It’s not a foregone conclusion that they will repeat, but they enter the postseason as the favorites.
In all likelihood, James will win another Most Valuable Player award and the Heat will streak into the playoffs healthy and motivated. Let’s take a look at the team’s leaders.
Team Leaders (per game):
Points: LeBron James, 26.8
Rebounds: LeBron James, 8.0
Assists: LeBron James, 7.3
Steals: Dwyane Wade, 1.9
Blocks: Chris Bosh, 1.4
Emotional Leader: SF Shane Battier
Battier has a reputation of being a very cerebral player. He always makes the right play and is always in the right position. He also has a knack for pumping up his teammates with motivational speeches.
It’s been said that Battier gave a terrific speech on the team bus after leaving a sports bar in Toronto that sparked the Heat’s terrific 27-game winning streak. Check out this video from his time with the Rockets:
Player to Watch: SF, LeBron James
Who else? James, in addition to his league leading PER of 31.6, is shooting an astounding 56.5 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from the three-point line. He leads the NBA in offensive win shares (14.6) as well as total win shares (19.3).
If that isn’t enough, James has played just 30.8 minutes per game during the month of April. It makes sense that he’d rest up, but he’s still putting up 24.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game.
He’s shooting 69.1 percent from the field, 50 percent from three and 87.5 percent from the free-throw line. Just when we thought he couldn’t get any better, he proves us wrong.
While the Bucks could steal a game behind Ellis and his ability to score in bunches, they just don’t have enough to stop James and Wade. Larry Sanders is a dark-horse Defensive Player of the Year candidate, but he can’t do it all himself.
As the favorites, the Heat are going to do what they came to do. Not one, not two, not three….this will be the second championship and the third consecutive Finals appearance for the Heat. They aren’t going to run roughshod through everyone, but there’s no team that matches up well. The only thing stopping the Heat from repeating would be an injury to James.