x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Forecast for overpowering Heat proves wrong

It turns out that Mount Olympus is higher than it looked. Talk of winning a record 73 games was a bit premature.

It turns out that Mount Olympus is higher than it looked. Talk of winning a record 73 games was a bit premature.

The Miami Heat came prepackaged for greatness. "Open season, enjoy brilliance!" They had taken a shortcut to the NBA title by luring the Big Three free agents - LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh - into one super team that would overawe the NBA.

Ten games into the season, the Heat have been revealed as mere mortals.

They are not a great team. They are not the best in the NBA. Not the best in the Eastern Conference. Not even the best in the Southeast Division. So far, they are just a pretty good team.

The Heat have yet to develop a toughness to match their starry sheen. They lost consecutive home games last week, to the Utah Jazz and then to the Boston Celtics, who have taken to bullying the Heat. The Celtics did everything but take their lunch money. They glared and the Heat melted. They threw elbows and the Heat cowered.

James, never shy about deflecting blame, decided the defeat was the fault of his coach, Erik Spoelstra, whom he said had failed to give his top players adequate rest.

"For myself, 44 minutes is too much," James said. "I think 'Coach Spo' knows that. Forty minutes for D-Wade is too much. We have to have as much energy as we can to finish games out."

Read: it's not my fault.

Greatness is not assembled. It is forged and groomed, developed and moulded. At least, down here on Earth.