As Heat Prepare for Celtics Tonight, Hater Schadenfreude Blows Up The Internet

The Miami Heat host the Boston Celtics tonight at the American Airlines Arena. But did you know Miami is 5-3 eight games into the 2010-11 NBA season? They are! And because they've turned into The Most Irrationally Reviled Team In The Universe, sports writers, commentators and fans alike have all recently stated that this Miami Heat team is doomed. DOOMED! [lightning crash sounds] No point in playing tonight, then!

It all began with the season-opener, when the Heat were embarrassed by the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics on national television, much to the delight of everyone living outside the city of Miami. But the hate from that night came mostly from fans who tuned in to see the team's demise, and from Bill Simmons, who gets paid a gazillion dollars by ESPN so he can tell us all how Boston sports is so much better and substantially more significant than any other city's sports in his weekly 100,000 word columns.

But then the Heat lost two of their last three to supposed inferior teams like New Orleans and Utah. And now the over inflated knee-jerk schadenfreude has spilled over into places like and where well-respected (if not insufferably contrarian) sports scribes like Gregg Doyel and Jason Whitlock have spewed their undaunted wisdom upon the unwashed masses -- eight fucking games into an 82-game season.

First, there was Whitlock's assertion that Chris Bosh is a fraud and, therefore, must be placed on the trading block. And today, there's Doyel, who seems to relish in the fact that, not only are the Heat no longer worth hating, they are gutless, take the easy way out, and just plain suck monkey ass:

The way I figure it, the Heat should be done with this pesky basketball season in mid-May, around the time the best four teams are playing in the conference finals. Because the Heat aren't one of the best four teams in basketball. Never thought I'd write that sentence. Not this season. But there it is.

Yes, there it is. The sentence he never thought he'd write. Right there. It has been written, so it must be true. Eight fucking games into an 82-game season. 

To be fair, Doyel does point out some obvious flaws that led to the Heat's respective losses to the Hornets and Jazz. Both teams have exceptional point guards, and both teams took advantage of the Heat's lack of inside presence.

Emeka Okafor scored 26 against the Heat in Miami's 3-point loss to New Orleans last Friday. And then there was the 22-point lead Miami let slip away to the Jazz on Tuesday when Utah's Paul Millsap, who sports a 10.3 point career average and entered the game 2-for-20 from three-point range, scored a career-high 46 points, leading Utah to the two-point victory in overtime. Ultimately, a couple of missed free throws lost the game for the Heat. But Doyel's point is made. The Heat lost two games by a whopping combined five points to lesser teams in November. Therefore, they are destined for destruction and a mid-May exit.

Okafor torched that group for 26. Millsap had 46. What's Dwight Howard going to do next time he plays the Heat -- hang a hundred?

Dwight Howard did hang 19 points on the Heat in their first meeting this season -- a 96-70 blowout win by Miami. So Howard will only need an additional 81 points next time around. 

(Incidentally, the Utah Jazz overcame an 18-point deficit and beat Dwight Howard's Orlando Magic in Orlando last night. THE ORLANDO MAGIC ARE GUTLESS!) 

As for the reality of things, yes, the Heat do need interior help. And yes, they showed that they struggle against teams with excellent point guard play. So far, anyway.

But if Pat Riley can pull off trading for Shaq and then convincing LeBron to suit up alongside D-Wade, it's safe to say the man can and will do something to address the team's embroidered shortcomings, if he must. Fact two: This is a team with three big stars who are still getting acclimated to each other's playing style. The 2007-08 Celtics had the same issues, and eventually won the title that year. Chris Bosh will find his way.

And, most importantly, it's November.

A win tonight against Boston would go a long way in silencing the hate. A loss will only stroke their Monday Morning Point Guard egos and flood our lives with more "I told you so!" columns. And wouldn't that be dynamite reading! 

But, it'll still be November. And, at the end of the day, flawed or not, this team boasts LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chis Bosh along with what is a strong supporting cast that has yet to find its sea legs. You have to like Miami's odds. Even if the Doyels and Whitlocks and Simmons of the world continue to shower us with the Haterade.

Let's see where we're at in May and June. Gregg Doyel seems to know where, so we might as well just cancel the remaining 74 games.

Tonight's tipoff is at 8:00

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Chris Joseph