Knowing that winning back-to-back NBA championships is inherently more difficult than winning the initial title, Pat Riley refused to let the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat rest on their laurels. During the offseason, the Heat acquired veteran sharpshooters Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.
Allen, who spent the last five years with the rival Boston Celtics, is the league's all-time leader in three-pointers made. Lewis, who stands 6'10" and shoots 38.8 percent from three-point land for his career, is a prototypical stretch four. Allen and Lewis will help spread the floor and open up driving lanes for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
Last season, Miami scored 104.3 points per 100 possessions to rank sixth in offensive efficiency. This season, with Allen and Lewis added to the lineup, the Heat will likely move into the top five in offensive efficiency while still maintaining one of the NBA's most efficient defenses.
Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2012-2013 Miami Heat:
Game 1, Tuesday, October 30 versus Boston Celtics- Heat begin their title defense with a loss to the rival Celtics (Record 0-1).
Game 3, Saturday, November 3 versus Denver Nuggets- Heat successfully complete their first back-to-back with a victory over the Nuggets (Record 2-1).
Game 4, Monday, November 5 versus Phoenix Suns- Heat beat the Suns for the fifth straight time (Record 3-1).
Game 5, Wednesday, November 7 versus Brooklyn Nets- Heat defeat the Nets to close out a perfect 3-0 homestand (Record 4-1).
Game 6, Friday, November 9 at Atlanta Hawks- Heat open a six-game road trip with a victory over the new-look Hawks (Record 5-1).
Game 7, Sunday, November 11 at Memphis Grizzlies- Heat fall to the Grizzlies at the FedExForum and suffer their first road loss of the season (Record 5-2).
Game 8, Monday, November 12 at Houston Rockets- Heat get right back on track with a win over Jeremy Lin and the Rockets in the second half of a back-to-back (Record 6-2).
Game 9, Wednesday, November 14 at Los Angeles Clippers- Heat drop a game to the Clippers at the Staples Center (Record 6-3).
Game 10, Thursday, November 15 at Denver Nuggets- Heat suffer their second consecutive loss and fall to the Nuggets in the Mile High City for the 11th straight time (Record 6-4).
Game 11, Saturday, November 17 at Phoenix Suns- Heat defeat the Suns to salvage a 3-3 road trip (Record 7-4).
Game 12, Wednesday, November 21 versus Milwaukee Bucks- Heat win a close game over the Bucks (Record 8-4).
Game 13, Saturday, November 24 versus Cleveland Cavaliers- Heat earn their fifth straight win at home by defeating the Cavaliers (Record 9-4).
Game 14, Thursday, November 29 versus San Antonio Spurs- Heat outlast the Spurs and get their 10th win of the season (Record 10-4).
Game 15, Saturday, December 1 versus Brooklyn Nets- Heat open December with a victory over the Nets (Record 11-4).
Game 16, Tuesday, December 4 at Washington Wizards- Heat lose to the Wizards for the third consecutive time (Record 11-5).
Game 17, Thursday, December 6 versus New York Knicks- Heat rebound with a home win over the Knicks (Record 12-5).
Game 18, Saturday, December 8 versus New Orleans Hornets- Heat get a double-digit victory over the Hornets (Record 13-5).
Game 19, Monday, December 10 versus Atlanta Hawks- Heat defeat the Hawks to earn their 10th straight win at AmericanAirlines Arena (Record 14-5).
Game 20, Wednesday, December 12 versus Golden State Warriors- Heat continue their winning ways with a victory over the Warriors (Record 15-5).
Game 21, Saturday, December 15 versus Washington Wizards- Heat beat the Wizards and avenge the loss they suffered 11 days earlier (Record 16-5).
Game 22, Tuesday, December 18 versus Minnesota Timberwolves- Heat defeat the Timberwolves to close out a perfect 6-0 homestand (Record 17-5).
Game 23, Thursday, December 20 at Dallas Mavericks- Heat fall to the Mavericks at the American Airlines Center (Record 17-6).
Game 24, Saturday, December 22 versus Utah Jazz- Heat open a brief two-game homestand with a victory over the Jazz (Record 18-6).
Game 25, Tuesday, December 25 versus Oklahoma City Thunder- Heat drop an emotional Christmas Day game to a motivated Thunder team (Record 18-7).
Game 26, Wednesday, December 26 at Charlotte Bobcats- Heat thrash the Bobcats to rebound from the Thunder loss (Record 19-7).
Game 27, Friday, December 28 at Detroit Pistons- Heat defeat the Pistons and earn their 20th win of the season (Record 20-7).
Game 28, Saturday, December 29 at Milwaukee Bucks- Heat fall to the Bucks for the fourth time in the last six meetings between the two teams (Record 20-8).
Game 29, Monday, December 31 at Orlando Magic- Heat close a respectable 3-1 road trip with a victory over the Magic (Record 21-8).
Game 30, Wednesday, January 2 versus Dallas Mavericks- Heat get a home win over the Mavericks at AmericanAirlines Arena (Record 22-8).
Game 31, Friday, January 4 versus Chicago Bulls- Heat win a defensive battle against the Derrick Rose-less Bulls (Record 23-8).
Game 32, Sunday, January 6 versus Washington Wizards- Heat close out a 3-0 homestand with a victory over the Wizards (Record 24-8).
Game 33, Tuesday, January 8 at Indiana Pacers- Heat open a six-game road trip with a loss to the Pacers (Record 24-9).
Game 34, Thursday, January 10 at Portland Trail Blazers- Heat get a win over the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden (Record 25-9).
Game 35, Saturday, January 12 at Sacramento Kings- Heat defeat the Kings for the eighth straight time (Record 26-9).
Game 36, Monday, January 14 at Utah Jazz- Heat beat the Jazz and win their fourth consecutive game against Western Conference opposition (Record 27-9).
Game 37, Wednesday, January 16 at Golden State Warriors- Heat get a road win over the Warriors (Record 28-9).
Game 38, Thursday, January 17 at Los Angeles Lakers- Heat fall to the Lakers in the second half of a back-to-back (Record 28-10).
Game 39, Wednesday, January 23 versus Toronto Raptors- Heat beat the Raptors by double digits to get back on track (Record 29-10).
Game 40, Friday, January 25 versus Detroit Pistons- Heat close a brief two-game homestand with a victory over the Pistons (Record 30-10).
Game 41, Sunday, January 27 at Boston Celtics- Heat beat the Celtics at the TD Garden to avenge their opening night loss (Record 31-10).
Game 42, Wednesday, January 30 at Brooklyn Nets- Heat make their first visit ever to the Barclays Center and fall to Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and the rest of the Brooklyn Nets (Record 31-11).
Game 43, Friday, February 1 at Indiana Pacers- Heat fall to the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the second time this season (Record 31-12).
Game 44, Sunday, February 3 at Toronto Raptors- Heat defeat the Raptors for the 10th consecutive time (Record 32-12).
Game 45, Monday, February 4 versus Charlotte Bobcats- Heat beat the Bobcats and get both halves of a back-to-back (Record 33-12).
Game 46, Wednesday, February 6 versus Houston Rockets- Heat get a home win over the visiting Rockets (Record 34-12).
Game 47, Friday, February 8 versus Los Angeles Clippers- Heat defeat the Clippers to earn their 35th win of the season (Record 35-12).
Game 48, Sunday, February 10 versus Los Angeles Lakers- Heat pick up their ninth straight home win by beating Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and the Lakers (Record 36-12).
Game 49, Tuesday, February 12 versus Portland Trail Blazers- Heat defeat the Trail Blazers to close out a perfect 5-0 homestand (Record 37-12).
Game 50, Thursday, February 14 at Oklahoma City Thunder- Heat head into the All-Star break with a road win over Kevin Durant and the Thunder (Record 38-12).
Game 51, Wednesday, February 20 at Atlanta Hawks- Heat begin the second half of the season with a loss to the Hawks (Record 38-13).
Game 52, Thursday, February 21 at Chicago Bulls- Heat defeat the Bulls to capture the second half of a back-to-back (Record 39-13).
Game 53, Saturday, February 23 at Philadelphia 76ers- Heat play their third game in four nights and fall to the 76ers (Record 39-14).
Game 54, Sunday, February 24 versus Cleveland Cavaliers- Heat open a three-game home stand with a double-digit victory over the Cavaliers (Record 40-14).
Game 55, Tuesday, February 26 versus Sacramento Kings- Heat defeat the Kings and extend their home winning streak to 12 (Record 41-14).
Game 56, Friday, March 1 versus Memphis Grizzlies- Heat beat the Grizzlies and get revenge for a Veterans Day loss (Record 42-14).
Game 57, Sunday, March 3 at New York Knicks- Heat lose a Sunday matinee to the Knicks (Record 42-15).
Game 58, Monday, March 4 at Minnesota Timberwolves- Heat fall to the Timberwolves and lose both games of a back-to-back (Record 42-16).
Game 59, Wednesday, March 6 versus Orlando Magic- Heat beat the Magic to get back on track (Record 43-16).
Game 60, Friday, March 8 versus Philadelphia 76ers- Heat defeat the 76ers and earn their 15th consecutive win at AmericanAirlines Arena (Record 44-16).
Game 61, Sunday, March 10 versus Indiana Pacers- Heat get a home win over the Pacers (Record 45-16).
Game 62, Tuesday, March 12 versus Atlanta Hawks- Heat beat the Hawks to close out a 4-0 homestand (Record 46-16).
Game 63, Wednesday, March 13 at Philadelphia 76ers- Heat open a stretch of five road games in eight nights with a victory over the 76ers (Record 47-16).
Game 64, Friday, March 15 at Milwaukee Bucks- Heat get a road win over the Bucks (Record 48-16).
Game 65, Sunday, March 17 at Toronto Raptors- Heat defeat the Raptors and sweep the season series for the third straight year (Record 49-16).
Game 66, Monday, March 18 at Boston Celtics- Heat drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Celtics (Record 49-17).
Game 67, Wednesday, March 20 at Cleveland Cavaliers- Heat record their 50th win of the season with a victory over the Cavaliers (Record 50-17).
Game 68, Friday, March 22 versus Detroit Pistons- Heat close their season series with the Pistons by defeating them for the 11th straight time (Record 51-17).
Game 69, Sunday, March 24 versus Charlotte Bobcats- Heat extend their home winning streak to 19 with a victory over the lowly Bobcats (Record 52-17).
Game 70, Monday, March 25 at Orlando Magic- Heat get a road win over the Magic to complete a successful back-to-back (Record 53-17).
Game 71, Wednesday, March 27 at Chicago Bulls- Heat fall to the Bulls at the United Center (Record 53-18).
Game 72, Friday, March 29 at New Orleans Hornets- Heat rebound from the Bulls loss with a victory over Anthony Davis and the young New Orleans Hornets (Record 54-18).
Game 73, Sunday, March 31 at San Antonio Spurs- Heat finish a 2-2 road trip with a loss to Tim Duncan and the savvy San Antonio Spurs (Record 54-19).
Game 74, Tuesday, April 2 versus New York Knicks- Heat defeat the Knicks and earn their 20th consecutive home win (Record 55-19).
Game 75, Friday, April 5 at Charlotte Bobcats- Heat beat the Bobcats for the 12th straight time (Record 56-19).
Game 76, Saturday, April 6 versus Philadelphia 76ers- Heat continue their winning ways at AmericanAirlines Arena with a victory over the 76ers (Record 57-19).
Game 77, Tuesday, April 9 versus Milwaukee Bucks- Heat defeat the Bucks and win the season series 3-1 (Record 58-19).
Game 78, Wednesday, April 10 at Washington Wizards- Heat visit the Nation's Capital and get a road win over the Wizards (Record 59-19).
Game 79, Friday, April 12 versus Boston Celtics- Heat fall to the Celtics and suffer their first home loss since Christmas Day (Record 59-20).
Game 80, Sunday, April 14 versus Chicago Bulls- Heat beat the Bulls for win number 60 (Record 60-20).
Game 81, Monday, April 15 at Cleveland Cavaliers- Heat successfully complete their final back-to-back with a victory over the Cavaliers (Record 61-20).
Game 82, Wednesday, April 17 versus Orlando Magic- Heat defeat the Magic to close out their regular season (Record 62-20).
Prediction: The defending NBA Champion Miami Heat will be efficient on both sides of the ball during the 2012-2013 campaign and win their third straight Southeast Division title.
Mark is a lifelong fan of the NBA who has loved the game of basketball ever since his first trip to an NBA arena. Mark has watched more basketball games than anyone can count and has hundreds of articles about the NBA published on the internet. Mark also shares his random NBA musings and game-by-game predictions on RandomNBAFan.com.