March 28, 2011
With all the talk of LeBron James's(notes) honor and heart (or lack thereof) this season, it's occasionally been lost that he's still the single most talented player in the NBA. This dunk from yesterday above is an excellent example: he shows his speed with a drive past the taller Patrick Patterson(notes) and also displays considerable strength and athleticism to finish the dunk on a man with an inch advantage. It's a combination of size, strength, and athleticism that no other player in the league can match, and it's what makes LeBron a transcendent talent even if he doesn't have a ring to show for it.
This dunk came in a tremendous offensive performance for the Heat's Big Three, with James, Dwyane Wade(notes), and Chris Bosh(notes) all finishing with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in a 125-119 win over the Rockets in Miami. When all three players are at their best, Miami becomes a formidable opponent for any team. Few teams have three players capable of going for 30 points, let alone three that can do it at the same time. It's an advantage that could propel the Heat to a championship despite their struggles comparable to expectations.
On top of all that, the Heat are only 2 1/2 games out of the top spot in the East with a very favorable schedule over their last nine games. It's not crazy to suggest that they can enter the playoffs as the hottest team in the conference. They're not to be counted out, no matter how much they struggle. Because, you know, they have the most talented player in the league, plus an All-NBA guard and another All-Star.
On the other hand, they won Sunday's game by six points at home against the ninth-best team in the West. When a team counts on the near-comatose Mike Bibby(notes) for key contributions, the Big Three may not be enough.