Trouble in Paradise as the Miami Heat struggle

Thursday, March 10, 2011

By Sports Authority
JR Staff Writer

The Miami Heat have been the most-scrutinized team in the history of the NBA. When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team he had turned into a championship contender, in order to join the Miami Heat, led by Dwyane Wade, he lost much respect.

Wade spent his career under the shadow of LeBron James, despite having a more successful career. In his first three seasons in the NBA, Dwyane Wade was arguably better than James. In his third season, he had led the Heat to a championship.

However, injuries limited Dwyane Wade's performance for the next two seasons. By the time he returned to full strength, the team was no longer a contender. Dwyane Wade spent two seasons being a great player on a horrible team.

Chris Bosh was stuck in a similar position with the Toronto Raptors. Bosh had become an incredible big man, but he played under the shadow of Vince Carter. Following Carter's departure, Bosh turned the Raptors into a playoff contender. But, by 2010, Chris Bosh acknowledged the fact that he needed some help. Many sports outlets suggested Bosh leave Toronto to play in Miami with Dwyane Wade.

LeBron James had been chosen by many as the next Michael Jordan. While James had been spectactular, he never did well in the clutch. By 2008, the Cleveland Cavaliers were favorites to win the NBA championship each year. Each year, James had the Cavaliers close, but when it came down to the wire, he was unable to pull of the same tricks Wade was able to.

The pressure was on James to win in 2010, but his team suffered a surprising and embarrassing loss at the hands of the Boston Celtics. The Celtics had embarrassed the Heat in the previous round, giving birth to the newest Heat rivalry. During the summer of 2010, Chris Bosh joined the Miami Heat, instantly making them contenders. Then, LeBron James left Cleveland in order to join the Heat too.

With three of the NBA's best players playing in the NBA's favorite city, many people became overnight fans of the Miami Heat. The pressure was immediately placed on this new team, with them facing Boston on the first night of the season. All of the talent in the world could not save them from an embarrassing loss in the big three's first game together.

For the most part, it has gone unsaid, but the Miami Heat's struggles are mainly to blame on LeBron James, the "superstar" of the team. After seven years in Cleveland, James was the go-to guy. But, in the clutch, he left his city hanging year after year. Meanwhile, when healthy, Dwyane Wade pulled off magic tricks in order for the Miami Heat to get that extra win (Dallas 2006 NBA Finals).

Wade, entering his eighth season with the Heat, was the all-time leader in most categories. But, from the start, LeBron James has been trying to assert himself as the "new leader" of this team. When the Heat have had success, a stretch in which they went 22-1, it was because of Wade leading the team. However, once the Heat were playing well, LeBron James wanted to "lead" again.

The selfish play of LeBron James has cost them a great deal of the games they lost. On opening night, James did score 31 points, but he was never hot. Dwyane Wade got off to a slow start and LeBron James made sure he did not heat up. There was a play in which Wade was wide open for a dunk and James held the ball and forced a shot up. With a given closer on the team, he should pass more.

Yes, LeBron James is a two-time MVP, but Dwyane Wade is the leader of Miami. But, when the cameras are on, it is James trying to be the hero. He has cost Miami winnable games against Orlando twice, Atlanta, Chicago twice, Boston three times, New York twice, and Dallas twice. Now, with five consecutive losses, the other players on the Heat, Wade and Bosh, are getting vocal.

LeBron James taking over the Miami Heat should not be an issue now. As the undisputed king of Miami coming into the season, Dwyane Wade should have made things clear. LeBron can be the two-time MVP all he wants to be, but Miami is still his house. Instead, Wade played the humble role and now James has become an even bigger ball-hogging monster.

Perhaps, if there was another team meeting to discuss the roles of each player on the team, the Heat can put something together to at least win 55 games on the season. If they work something out now, they might be able to put together a solid playoff run. But, things are not looking good for the Miami Heat. From the way things seem, a team with three superstars will be losing in the first round of the playoffs.


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