Ever since their inception last summer, the Heat have had to endure an equal amount of praise and ridicule from the press, media and fans alike. No one particularly cared for the all three of the biggest free agent acquisitions taking matters into their own hands and forming a super team. James and Co. could’ve used that animosity to fuel their competitive juices and prove everyone wrong. At least in that way, accepting the villain tag and winning would’ve garnered them some respect.
Now all that remains are questions left unanswered.
“It’s been dramatic, it’s been very dramatic,” Phil Jackson said. “I’ve always said that one of the reasons the Bulls were very successful, and the Lakers also, was that they engendered good feelings. People were rooting for them. They wanted to see them be successful. I think from what I’ve heard, this [Heat] team feels like they’re being looked at to lose or they’ve been hoped at to lose. … Nationally, if that’s the case, that’s a burden to carry. And then those games that are dramatic become bigger than they really should be.”
On Christmas Day, the Heat came into Staples center riding on a cool winning streak. They had yet to get a victory against the upper echelon teams in the league and were hoping to get a win against the Lakers. The Heat beat the Lakers convincingly. Chris Bosh outplayed Gasol, the bench players were contributing and no one could put a stop to James.
This time around, the tables are turned. The Lakers are one of the hottest teams in the NBA while the Heat continue to melt under the pressure. The Heat would benefit from taking a page out of the Lakers how-to book on dealing with the press, mainly to not worry about what they’re printing in the papers and concentrate on a game plan.
LeBron James’ game plan?
“We can probably lose every game for the rest of the season and make the playoffs. The playoffs are what matters.”
Go ahead and make what you will with that.