It is cute the things we do to manufacture drama in a Heat postseason that is lacking in that because, well, because Miami is so good that even pretending the NBA champions might not repeat let alone that they would be seriously threatened in the early rounds takes some real imagination.
There wasnt even the pretense of drama before or during the first-round sweep of Milwaukee. The Bucks Brandon Jennings guaranteeing his team would win in six games was offered as a novelty, but it was so preposterous you just wanted to hug Jennings, pat him on the head and say, There, there, like you would a lunatic uncle who claims theres a Martian at the door.
Now comes the second round well, eventually! and were inching closer to actual drama if only because Chicago and Brooklyn are sincerely better than Milwaukee. (Id say as cities as well as teams, but that might be mean).
It still stretches credulity, though, to prop up either the Bulls or Nets as an opponent that should worry Miami. It was fitting that Thursday for the Bulls and Nets meant a fight for playoff survival, while Thursday for the Heat meant a day off. A leisurely brunch, perhaps. Maybe a nice massage. Haircut?
Chicago and Brooklyn work overtime for the right to meet the basketball guillotine that is a rested LeBron James & Co.
We so want to believe the playoffs start now, that the second round will really test Miami and bring some exciting tension to this Heat postseason. But because thats so tough to fathom, lets go find some fake drama here. Where is it?
How about this: Boredom! Heat players will have had a full week off by Mondays Game 1 of the next round here, or what Shane Battier called a playoff bye week. (Actually that would be two bye weeks in a row for Miami: Bucks in the first round, now all this time off).
Perhaps mojo and momentum are frittering away.
Dudes get bored, noted Chris Bosh.
Maybe thats why Battier has cultivated an idle-time mustache that looks like its heroes were Hulk Hogan and Dr. Fu Manchu.
LeBron used his free time to donate $1 million Thursday to his old high school in Akron, Ohio, which trumps growing a mustache.
Or how about this for some fake worry: Rest turning to rust! The concern that Miami will be all out of playoff shape Monday while the opponent will be revving at postseason RPMs.
I really dont like a lot of rest, said LeBron, ominously.
Ill give you that one. There is a real concern the rust factor means Miami could be a bit ragged the first five minutes or so in Game 1. Its those other 43 minutes that should worry the opponent.
Making the case for Brooklyn as a dangerous next foe for Miami would have been a particular challenge, considering the Heat was 3-0 against the Nets this season by a combined 53-point margin.
Chicago as a tough opponent is at least an easier sell. The Bulls and Heat were 2-2 this season, and it was Chicago that ended Miamis 27-game winning streak, after all.
An arcane statistical nugget unearthed by ESPN.com this week further suggested that the Bulls possess a secret weapon against one of Miamis big weapons: Chicagos defense allows fewer corner three-point attempts than any team, and that far corner is where LeBron is looking first for an open man when his rhinoceros runs into the paint draw every defender with a death wish.