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Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and the night of complacency

Nov 10, 2010, 8:20 AM EDT

Wade_James_standing

Thousands of miles away Tuesday night — on different coasts with different parties in the arena — the high-profile teams many keep calling the two best in basketball shared a little something.

Complacency.

They got comfortable, started looking past their opponents and paid a price.

The Lakers still got the win because they were playing the Timberwolves. The Heat lost because they were playing a much better Jazz team with the suddenly unstoppable Paul Millsap.

But the cause was the same. They didn’t respect their opponent. Eddie House told ESPN as much.

“For whatever reason, I don’t think we had that sense of urgency,” said Heat guard Eddie House, who missed a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds that would have won the game in overtime. “I think we got up 20 (points) and might have just gotten bored with that process of how we got up 20.”

Heat fans seemed stunned, although their effect is cumulative after a few losses. Lakers fans have come to expect a dozen or so of these games a year, where the team just plays down to its opponents. Usually the Lakers win because Kobe does Kobe things and the Lakers eek it out (he had 33 against the Wolves). The Heat will learn that trick.

This will be the biggest challenge to Phil Jackson and Erik Spoelstra — keeping the team focused. It’s a long slog of a season and talented teams can cruise for a little bit and survive. Jackson talked about a team learning hot to win over the course of a season. The Heat need that.

But to do that, you can be taking nights off and being complacent.

  1. omniusprime - Nov 10, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    A Tale of Two Teams last night, one destined to Threepeat another world championship won because it knows when to flip the switch and one which lost because it can’t figure out how to win consistently with the King of Choke. How totally funny that the Heatstroke couldn’t handle all that Jazz after going up by 22 points. So much for the Little Three Losers getting into the NBA Finals, they aren’t getting past the ancient Celtics in the playoffs. The regular season is like preseason for the Repeat World Champion Lakers whose regular season is the playoffs. Just remember that the Lakers are short Bynum and when he gets back into the lineup it’s lights out for the rest of the league.

    • lebronsinsecurity - Nov 10, 2010 at 11:57 AM

      I’m a Lakers fan and a T-Wolves fan (grew up in Minneapolis)… I agree with you about LBJ being the biggest choke artist in the league, but comparing the two teams based on the opponents they beat is extremely misleading..T-Wolves = worst team in the league..Jazz = most likely a top 10 team..I’m not trying to start sh*t, were both pulling for the Lakers.. Just thinking you might be underrating the Jazz compared to the Wolves..

      • hnirobert3 - Nov 10, 2010 at 2:36 PM

        Also, how about: the Lakers, for the most part, have been together going on their third year with a few parts here and there. The Heat, with the exception of Wade and Haslem, are going on the 8th game EVER together.

        Pull Kobe’s you know what out of your you know what, oh wait, he’s forcing it in there.

  2. ibejeph - Nov 10, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    Good job Helin. I know it was difficult but you got through a post involving Minnesota and didn’t once mention Love.

    • tubal22 - Nov 10, 2010 at 1:30 PM

      Waa? He went through a whole heat post without mentioning Lebron, or Wade, or Bosh.

      A whole Lakers post without mentioning Gasol.

      A whole Jazz post without mentioning Deron Williams.

      I think you need some tin foil.

  3. metalhead65 - Nov 10, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    so hows that 72 win season coming along miami?yea I know you will win the next 69 games right?no excuses you are the best team ever assembled right?lebron is the king right?shouldn’t be to hard to come together as a team with all that talent unless maybe they are not quite the juggernaught you clowns in south beach think they are!

    • hnirobert3 - Nov 10, 2010 at 2:37 PM

      Douche, a Jeff Van Gundy said they were going to win 72, not the Heat. Obviously he has vested interest in them not doing well since his brother coaches a team in the same division and he was just trying to add more pressure.

      Now, go back to work, your break at Chuck E. Cheese is almost up.

    • hnirobert3 - Nov 10, 2010 at 2:37 PM

      Douche, Jeff Van Gundy said they were going to win 72, not the Heat. Obviously he has vested interest in them not doing well since his brother coaches a team in the same division and he was just trying to add more pressure.

      Now, go back to work, your break at Chuck E. Cheese is almost up.

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