Back in October (when NBA championships are totally decided), ESPN columnist and consummate Heat Dick-Biter, Bill Simmons, wrote that the Big Three's biggest problem will be when they hit the road, because everyone hates them and that makes them all sad:
I could see the Heat running the slate [in Miami], feeding off the crowd and relishing those 45-50 times a year when it's just them and their 16,000 fans. It will be their little Haterade cocoon. And they'll need it. Because everywhere else, the sun ain't shining.In the 64-year history of the National Basketball Association, no team has ever won 10 consecutive road games in one calendar month. Oh hey guess what the Miami Heat did? Last night's 125-119 win in Houston put the Heat in the record books as the only team to reach such a feat in the NBA's long history. Perhaps Simmons can write a 500,000 page book about this?
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh never signed up for the villain hats; to be honest, I don't even think they considered it. Last summer, they were only thinking about titles, sunshine, mojitos and no state taxes. That's it.At the end of November, around Thanksgiving time, the Heat were just a repugnant basketball team. People wondered if Erik Spoelstra was the right guy for the job. LeBron James inadvertently bumping into Spoelstra during a time out blew up the Internet and was the lead story on ESPN's brain-cell-killing shows like Around the Horn and anything starring Colin Cowherd. The media was saying it was only a matter of time before Miami traded away Chris Bosh. The Heat was third in its own division and sixth in the East. It was a Dick-Biters wet dream.
The mojitos can still happen. They taste the best in Miami, actually. So that's a win.
Fast forward to several ball-clobbering victories -- 16 of their last 17 including the 10-straight road wins -- and one month later, and Miami is suddenly four games ahead of Orlando in the Southeast Division and just a game behind the Celtics in the East.
And Miami has been cock punching the opponent not just with The Big Three flushing down big points, but also with good old-fashioned defense. Entering last night's game, the Heat held it's previous 15 opponents to 86.7 points. And until the Rockets 119 points last night, Miami had not allowed any opponent to score more than 98. The Heat also leads the league in points against, overall shooting percentage against, and three-point percentage against.
There's still plenty of basketball left to be played. And the Heat still have their work cut out for them against the better teams in the East. But make no mistake. The slow start that everyone outside of Miami seemed to delight in like medieval villagers watching a witch drowning is now in the past.