The Heat Is On

The main thing now is to look ahead to the upcoming NBA season and try to decipher the code that Miami just used to lock-down three of the best players in the league.

Now, while confidence is certainly key for Los Angeles, that doesn’t mean there is nothing to be worried about. The formation of this super-team is going to present a hearty task for the Lakers to overcome if they want to claim their third consecutive championship in the summer of 2011. However, while many teams are now deemed irrelevant after the assembling of power in South Beach, the Lakers have the talent and the experience to match up with the Heat.

June 17, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02208489 Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant (top) goes for a rebound against the Boston Celtics during the first half of game seven of the NBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 June 2010. Los Angeles leads the series 4-3 for the best of seven games. The Los Angeles Lakers won 83-79.

First of all, the regular season now has an extreme amount of importance for Los Angeles. The Heat will hit the ground running, and early projections have them winning as many as 66 games during the regular season. The battle for home court advantage in the NBA Finals is going to be a large issue, and the style of play the Lakers use in the regular season may end up hurting them.

It is no surprise that LA takes games off during the course of the 82 game marathon from October to April, but that may spell trouble in June if this trend continues. The importance of home court advantage in the NBA Finals was never more prevalent than it was merely a month ago, when Los Angeles dispatched Boston in Games 6 and 7 to claim the NBA crown.

The championship drought of LeBron James is going to drive his thirst throughout the season, and there is a very good chance the Heat will wind up with the best record in the league when all is said and done. For the Lakers, this will spell trouble if they are forced to go on the road to begin the NBA Finals next season.

How much trouble? Consider this: In the past three seasons the Lakers are 11-0 in playoff series where they held home court. The one time they didn’t? A brutal dismantling at the hands of the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals. Clearly this is something the Lakers will want to have in their corner as they make another title run next season.

While home court may be the deciding factor between the seemingly inevitable Lakers/Heat NBA Finals, there are many other considerations that must be examined before saying Miami is indeed the favorite after their free-agency bank job.

Next: Chemistry versus Mathematics…

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