COMMENTARY | It seems like nearly everything has gone right for the Miami Heat this season–even when it hasn’t. During the course of the 2012-13 NBA season, they have set both individual and team records. From LeBron James’ statistical dominance to the historic 27-game winning streak to April 10’s franchise record-setter, the Heat have given basketball enthusiasts and casual viewers alike plenty to talk about.
After having their win streak snapped at the hands of the Chicago Bulls in a game in which they were outmuscled, it appeared Miami would lose some momentum heading into the playoffs. The Heat, however, have regained steam and quietly continue their winning ways.
The Heat are 6-1 since the loss to the Bulls, as of April 10. Conveniently enough, they’ve been able to do it with key players sitting out. During this seven-game stretch, James has missed four games, Chris Bosh three and Dwyane Wade has missed six. After the roller coaster that was the streak, the Heat have been able to gain crucial rest and take care of nagging injuries–all while adding to the win column. Role players like Mike Miller also gained valuable court time and shots just in time for the postseason.
Miami notched a franchise-record 62 wins with their 103-98 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday (April 10). They also clinched the best record in the NBA, grabbing home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Coach Erik Spoelstra now has the full luxury to pick and choose when and if to play certain players for the last four games of the regular season. The Big Three may appear sporadically–just enough to keep them in a groove for the start of the playoffs. Wade may be the biggest beneficiary from the rest, as injuries seem to creep up on him frequently. Hopefully this will signal a healthy playoff run for the Heat, as opposed to 2012’s injury-plagued outing. A healthy and well-rested Heat team spells trouble for the rest of the NBA.
The chapter on a successful regular season is coming to a close, as LeBron James is poised to be named Most Valuable Player for the fourth time in his career (in what should be a runaway win) and the Heat will be enjoying home-cooked meals more days than not in the second season. The true test begins on April 20, when the playoffs begin. If they fail to win the NBA championship, all will have been for naught, however, a title would cement an incredible run in the 2012-13 season.
Emmanuel Altenor is sportswriter and editor contributing articles to various websites and magazines, and editing for one of the largest sports websites in the world.