The Utah Jazz beat the defending champion Miami Heat last night in Utah 94-89 behind Marvin Williams 23 points. This really happened. I saw it. It was on TV and everything.
Every time the Heat lose, or play a bad team close, or LeBron doesn’t drop 40, a friend of mine always asks me the same question immediately after: Are you worried about the Heat yet?
He always gets the same answer: No.
But this game was a little jarring. LeBron James was an afterthought only scoring 13 points on 4-13 shooting, threw away five turnovers and just looked generally uninterested. The Jazz came into the game with the worst record in the Western Conference, and left tied with the Kings (another team that has beaten the Heat this season) for last. The Heat hadn’t played since Wednesday while the Jazz played the Mavericks in Dallas the night before. In other words, the Heat were supposed to win this game 10 times out of 10.
Also, the Miami defense – their staple in this three year run – has had awful stretches in just about every single game this season. They let the Jazz score 32 points in the first quarter, after barely cracking 80 total the night before and the flaws on D are more than just effort. As Zach Lowe of Grantland explained a few weeks ago, teams are more privy to Miami’s trapping schemes and have found various ways to attack it now rather than be overwhelmed by the pressure.
The Jazz, and more specifically Trey Burke, used wrinkles like this early to find a ton of open shots for the Jazz. And while they didn’t fall all game, the Jazz were able to find those open shots all night.
Even with that said, whenever the Heat sleepwalk through a game, or a week, or a month’s worth of games, I always find myself referencing the same quote. It’s one that completely and fully encapsulates the Heat’s entire season, from none other than Chris Bosh:
“No, it’s not a championship game. It’s like the 20th game of the season. It’s tough to play like there’s no tomorrow when there is.”
That’s why I am not worried about the Heat, because the Heat aren’t worried about the Heat. That quote came the day of the Heat’s first meeting of the season with the Indiana Pacers (the Pacers won the game) – a game Lance Stephenson said was like a “championship game.” That’s just how it’s going to be for this team, they just aren’t going to deem every game as worth their urgency.
In Miami’s two championship runs they have played in three Game 7′s, including one in the Finals. They’ve won all three (two were blowouts), and such are the type of games that’ll entice them into the type of effort necessary to win a championship. A Saturday night game in Utah in February just isn’t going to excite them because, like Bosh said, there is a tomorrow.
So yeah, I’m still not worried.
But if this happens in late May, in Indiana, well forget I ever said anything