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The Miami Heat will be back. Sorry, it is true.

Jun 13, 2011, 10:50 AM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six Getty Images

People around the nation are celebrating at the demise of the Miami Heat. The narrative that it is poetic justice for a team of veterans that played smart and was better than the sum of their parts would defeat the Heat seemed like poetic justice for many.

But Miami will be back. They are only going to get better.

With very few exceptions in this league, teams (and players) need to learn how to win at the highest levels. We think of Michael Jordan’s Bulls as mythic and forget the three years in a row they got smacked down by the Pistons in the playoffs before they won. Front offices learn what roster tweaks need to be made — Miami has a lot of those — and players learn lessons about sacrifice and stepping up on the biggest stage.

Miami just learned some hard lessons. Ones they can apply in future years.

For one, they have three great players — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — and three solid rotation guys (Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers). After that… nothing. Pat Riley had to put together a roster of minimum players after putting together those top five and Chalmers, and it showed. In every finals you need the unexpected guy to step in and make plays — Brian Cardinal made key plays for Dallas, as did Ian Mahinmi — and the Heat had no guys capable of that on the roster.

Now Riley has another summer to put in role players that fit, and guys will want to come for the chance at a ring. Exactly who and how is impossible to say until we see what the new Collective Bargaining Agreement looks like, but Riley will find a way.

Also, the Heat players also are learning how to trust one another.

When Dallas stepped up its defensive pressure, LeBron seemed to get passive and the movement off the ball would come and go. Remember the late first quarter turnover where DeShawn Stevenson decided to put some light pressure on LeBron in the back court, then rather than just blow past him LeBron froze, picked up his dribble and tried to throw the ball to Mike Miller, who was not looking? Miami had a whole Game 6 of that. They looked completely out of synch.

On the other end, did it ever seem like Dallas took a bad shot in this series? When one Heat defender would over-help on rotations (which happens a lot with them) there would be two quick passes and Miami would pay by watching Dallas get an open look. Dallas adjusted to the athletic wings of Miami and started to hit shots with the closeouts coming as the series wore on.

Miami never came close to that kind of team efficiency. There were flashes of it, little spurts. But if they were kept in the half court it was spotty. The Heat stars played next to each other not off each other.

That is not on coach Erik Spoelstra — he does not design plays that have guys standing around off the ball. He did his job, but the veteran Mavs executed their coach’s plan in a way the Heat did not. Spoelstra will grow and win a lot with this team if Miami gives him the chance. They should. But there is a lot of pressure there to win fast, so who knows.

Miami will be back. This is not the best we will see of them. Their key players are in their primes, they will get better playing together (we saw that even during the playoffs) and the players around them will improve. This is not the last you’ll see of the Heat.

But this was not their year, it was Dallas’ turn.

  1. crazyguy358 - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    alot of things to notice next season will be a new era and this playoffs was aa sneak peek look at memphis they beat the spurs lakers getting a new coach also denver did alot also with okc and dallas and portland and the celtics may go for it one more time and the bulls also clippers with trade talk i mean i cant wait

  2. aboogy123456 - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    This is the worst article you’ve every written Kurt, says a lot too. We are all dumber for having read this and may god have mercy on your soul.

    But really , “Brian Cardinal made key plays for Dallas, as did Ian Mahinmi — and the Heat had no guys capable of that on the roster.” are you effing kidding? Brian Cardinal is what the heat need?

    • david8726 - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:51 PM

      I think what Kurt is getting that there is that Dallas’ 9th and 10th men were more capable than Miamis. Miami had the big three and chalmers, but their roster was so awful outside of that when you really look at it.

      The heat had to rely on –

      – A broken Mike Miller
      – An ancient Juwan Howard
      – A Mike Bibby who just posted the worst playoff PER of all time (seriously, check ESPN)
      – A Joel Anthony who was completely incapable of giving you anything on offense
      – A Haslem not all the way back from his injury.
      – Centers who were so bad that they couldnt even get on the court (Z and Damp).

      Basically, this Heat season proved that you can’t win a title with three amazing players and a bunch of old, broken guys. There has to be at least SOME balance.

      The Heat need to find a way to improve spots 6-9 on their roster if they want to win.

      • david8726 - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:53 PM

        Actually, I take that back. Even with that garbage supporting group, they still could have won had LeBron performed to expectations.

        Didn’t happen, so he has to spend another summer trying to figure things out.

  3. berbes - Jun 13, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    does kurt get free heat t-shirt’s for typing drivel like this? why does he love this player/team so much? the facts are 97% of the world hate how the ‘king’ left his old team and treated the reporters and fans like sh*t along the way. after a VERY subpar finals, he then admonishes the plain, simple folk that are very happy that $$$ didn’t win for once.

    then, a handjob article like this? why are there people who feel the need to support james? geez, kurt. maybe an article on kobe’s support for women’s issues or how oj didn’t do it, until nba camp starts up?

  4. scorch22 - Jun 13, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    Why does the media keep pretending Lebron is a young rookie with nothing but an upward trend possible, when in fact, he’s been in the league for eight years, and has each year become less and less intense. As for Wade he gets hurt every year in the playoffs. Get some bench players and hope for the best.

  5. wildddkattt80 - Jun 13, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    I don’t think a lot of those people are Heat haters. They are Lebron haters. He has no class. He thinks he’s better than he is. Some compare him to MJ and that is far from the truth. MJ averaged something like 35 ppg in the NBA finals and look at the Lebron numbers: soooorrrrry. He doesn’t have a post game, doesn’t have a middle range game and when his 3 point game is gone, he gives up. MJ continued to improve as his pro career continued. Right now Lebron has topped out. Lebron gave up in last year’s series and he’s doing it in Miami. He just does not have the heart of a champion. On top of that, somebody needs to show him how to present himself to the media. He comes across as ignorant. Comparing him to current players, Kobe would never give up. If things aren’t going his way, he gives up. Kobe said it best. “What’s he’s calling himself King for, he hasn’t won anything!”

  6. iowahbr - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:07 AM

    With all the criticism that has been sent at the Heat you would have thought they finished the year 1 game ahead of the Clippers. How they do remains to be seen but they didn’t do that badly and if you are still critical what does it say by implication about the Thunder or the Bulls let alone all the other NBA teams that did not make the finals?

    • ndirishfan1 - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:54 AM

      Everybody is critical of them for the standards that they themselves set for themselves.

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