MIAMI - The defending NBA champion Miami Heat open the new season on Tuesday night, and without a doubt, they enter the year as the favorites to win it all again. Why shouldn't they be? A championship team appears to have gotten even better with the additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, so everything is set up to do it again.
This time last year, I predicted, like so many others, that the Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder would meet in the NBA Finals. I thought the Heat would win it all, and they did. Trust me, I'm not saying this to brag because I think we all know that was an obvious choice for the NBA Finals.
The only reason I bring this up is because the consensus this year seems to be the Heat will face the new-look Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals this season. You know what? Once again, I agree with the so-called experts. I believe when the NBA Finals roll around in June, the Heat will take on the Lakers and make it back-to-back titles.
Only a few things can hold back the Heat, and the most obvious is injuries. But, aside from that, the only way I can see Miami NOT getting back to the Finals is if they can't find a way to get an effective rotation. That seems highly unlikely. It was part of the problem two seasons ago when the Heat fell short in the Finals. They never seemed to get a good rotation or rhythm going with the secondary players. That clearly wasn't the case last season. Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and others played key roles in helping Miami win the championship. I expect Allen and Lewis to get comfortable with the rotation right away.
Sometimes a championship team can also get a bit complacent, but that will also be highly unlikely for the Heat. LeBron James knows very well that his legacy is based on winning championships. Winning one title silenced many people, but James understands that more championships will only further cement his greatness. Trust me, he's motivated and ready for more.
You never have to worry about Dwyane Wade's passion, while Chris Bosh is looking to come back even stronger after missing most of last postseason with an injury. Battier, Miller, Allen, Lewis and James Jones are all veterans who continue to play for one thing; championships.
And finally, Erik Spoelstra has proven he not only knows how to coach, but he also knows how to push the right buttons on this team. The players have the utmost respect for their coach. No matter what the outsiders and national media might suggest, Spoelstra is the perfect man for this job. Don't ever doubt that.
Simply put, this team is built to win titles. They got one last season, and they'll get one again this year.
Regular season- 62-20 record
NBA Finals- Heat over Lakers
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