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Are the Miami Heat the NBA’s Green Bay Packers?

Mar 8, 2011, 7:20 PM EDT

Washington Wizards v Miami Heat Getty Images

It’s national “Pile on the Miami Heat Week” after Sunday’s loss to Bulls. Somehow, one of the NBA’s best teams has become seen as a crying, soft collection of overpaid talent that can’t win when it matters.

They’re doomed once the playoffs start, right?

Just like the Green Bay Packers were doomed, Matt Scribbins of Hoop Data reminds us.

Do you remember the story of the 2010-2011 Green Bay Packers? They were the trendy pre-season pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. After six weeks, their record stood at 3-3, and no one was predicting they would make the title game. They had to beat the Chicago Bears in Week 17 to even make the playoffs….

Green Bay was 2-6 in games decided by five points or less during the regular season. In the playoffs, they won three straight road games to capture the NFC Title. In the Super Bowl, they beat a team with an affinity for winning close games. Three of their playoff victories were by seven points or less. Mike McCarthy is not complaining right now about his team’s inability to win close games during the regular season. He is sitting at home reliving the moment he hoisted the Lombardi Trophy as the winning coach of Super Bowl XLV.

The tale of the Miami Heat resembles the story about Green Bay. NBA fans can’t stop talking about Miami’s record in close games and declaring them down for the count. Anyone who follows the Association knows they are 5-13 (that’s a better winning percentage than Green Bay’s 2-6 for those who are counting) in games decided by five points or less. But did you know Miami is 3-1 in games decided by six points? 3-0 in games decided by seven points? How about 4-1 in games decided by eight points?

The Heat keep losing close games — but those are close games. We’re talking about a made shot or two, one more stop and the outcome is different. Small fixes, little tweaks in execution.

LeBron James is taking the brunt of this, but as our own John Krolik points out over at ESPN, what LeBron does in the regular season and what happens in the playoffs don’t often correspond. His best playoff performances have come after sub-par regular seasons.

This is still a contending team, a team that is 43-20 despite some injuries to important role players. They are being compared against unrealistic expectations (granted, expectations they helped bring on themselves). This team is not the disaster they seem to be painted as; they are a team that is close.

And like the Packers, those close regular season losses could be meaningless when it really matters.

  1. rapmusicmademedoit - Mar 8, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    did the players on Green Bay cry too?

  2. zblott - Mar 8, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    The Heat are the NBA’s Charlie Sheen.

    • BC - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:39 AM

      #Winning

  3. smartbutlazy - Mar 8, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    No. They are the NBA’s Dallas Cowboys.

  4. jthammerstix - Mar 8, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    They blow

  5. digitalpoo - Mar 8, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    That the worst comparison I’ve ever heard. When you hit the playoffs in the NFL, it’s a one and done process. You don’t have a 7 game series.
    The problem with the Heat is that they’re inevitably going to face the Bulls and/or the Celtics in the playoffs and currently they’ve been swept by both teams.
    If they only had to play a single game against either of them in the playoffs to advance, yeah, I guess I would agree with you. But no, It just isn’t going to happen with the lack of depth the Heat have on the bench and in the key.

  6. digitalpoo - Mar 8, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Also I have to mention that the picture you chose makes it look like Lebron is pulling his junk out for Wade.

    • tubal22 - Mar 9, 2011 at 12:11 AM

      And once again, Bosh just stands in the background watching the show.

  7. frobaggins - Mar 8, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    i get comparing it from the media/public point of view. the fact that the article tries to legitimize it by using stats and numbers comparing the two sports like they are similar is a joooooke. just stunning

  8. mashoaf - Mar 8, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    Except the Packers beat some decent teams like the Steelers, the Jets, and the Bears. I guess the Pack manned up when need during the season also, unlike the Heat.

  9. frankvzappa - Mar 8, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    i was calling the Packers to win it all with two weeks left in the regular season, i was wrong in thinking they would beat the Pats for the title, but the point is that people are bandwagon morons for the most part…Miami doesnt have a prayer of seeing round three

  10. downtowndanny - Mar 8, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    they didnt care what people thought when they were partying over the summer, acting like they had won their 18th championship, so why do they care now? After D Wade and Haslem, I couldn’t care any less about the rest although I went to school with one of their teamates, screw Miami…..

  11. Colin Zvosec - Mar 9, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    Not only is there no comparison between football and basketball, but the Packers were constantly adjusting to injuries.

  12. ezwriter69 - Mar 9, 2011 at 1:00 AM

    The Pack was devastated by injury and bad breaks and bounces, made adjustments, and rebounded… the Heat are being devastated by ego and dysfunction… huge difference. No comparison, none whatsoever, this is total drivel, ignorant drivel.

  13. dwyane3 - Mar 9, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    The article really doesn’t attempt to say Miami and Green Bay are in the same situation. Seems more like poking fun at media for emphasizing one stat.

    The end of the article has neat comparisons to NBA champions with difficulty winning games.

  14. BC - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:40 AM

    They need to unload Bosh for a top-level point guard. Mike Bibby is 45 years old. They need a Deron Williams or someone like that. Also, a shot blocking center wouldn’t hurt.

  15. tejano2k - Mar 9, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    No comparison whatsoever to the Packers. First, the Super Bowl isn’t a Series. The Packers record was due, in large part, to injuries and subsequently, starters being placed on IR. Their road to winnning SB XLV was due to pure intestinal fortitude and “back-ups” playing at a high, professional level. No excuses were made by the players or coaches at any time. None of that psyche fits the Heat.
    Are these regular season losses meaningless to the Heat? Me thinks not. Head games play a part of what this team seems to be made of. Those big money guys can’t handle collective adversity. At least not at this point in the season. I’m not so sure that these are “meaningless” losses. In truth, Miami has all of the big guns on the court and still can’t get the job done, either physically nor psychologically. And, then to “cry” about it? No time for that…here come the LAKERS, babies !!! Get out the Pampers and Wipes Heat fans. It may not be pretty. I’m sure you’re going to need them.

  16. mickdamill - Mar 9, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Playoff basketball is different than the regular season basketball plain and simple, honestly I dont think anyone knows whats going to happen in the East. Magic, Heat, Knicks, Bulls and Celtics all have the tools to make some noise. To me the Bulls seem the best at this point but you can’t expect an easy win when playing any of these teams.

  17. cleonslamminsalmon - Mar 9, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    These clowns don’t have enough heart to be compared to the Green Bay Packers. We built our team from the ground up…they threw a bunch of money at a couple of guys. A little different. With all the crying I’ve been hearing about, they sound a lot more like the VIkings.

  18. jeffro33 - Mar 15, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    In short, no.

    The Packers lost more players to injury than any other team in the NFL during that 3-3 start, and built on heart, great coaching, and leadership they surged to a Super Bowl win.

    The Heat do not possess these qualities. They’d rather whine on a podium than put an axe to the grind.

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