Miami Heat Brace for Christmas Day Season Opener Against Mavericks: Fan Reaction

With Dec. 25 slowly creeping up, the Miami Heat are getting ready for their season opener against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks became the 2011 NBA champions last time the two powerhouse teams met, and to make things worse, the Heat will have to watch them receive their championship rings prior to the game.

Last time around, the Mavericks had the one thing the Heat lacked - solid role players coming off the bench - and that proved to be the difference maker during the NBA Finals.

The Heat have added several new faces to their roster since then, and their bench looks significantly improved.

Last season, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had to carry the team on their backs, all the way to the NBA finals, but they should be able to get a lot of production from their bench this time around. In their two preseason games, Miami's bench scored an average of 47.5 points per game, and two of their biggest acquisitions - Shane Battier and Eddy Curry - didn't even play in either contest.

Given the success the Heat enjoyed last season, with only three players to consistently carry the offensive load, the future looks bright for the improved team.

Critics of the Heat didn't think the "big-three" would be able to carry the team deep into the playoffs, but they did even better, knocking out the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls on their way to the finals.

This time around, the "big-three" won't have to carry the entire Heat offense, and it will be hard for any team to defeat them in a seven-game series.

I expect nothing less than perfection from the Heat during the season, and it starts against the Mavericks on Christmas Day. The Heat are clearly the best team in the NBA right now, and fans will have high expectations all season.

Making it to the NBA Finals in the first season of the new Miami Heat was impressive, but they'll need to win it all this year. I'm pretty confident they'll do just that, and I look forward to a memorable NBA season.

David is a Miami Heat fan that has followed the team for 15 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter and check out his blog.

Sources:

Player and game information from ESPN.com

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Updated Thursday, Dec 22, 2011