Relentless: The Miami HEAT
When competing for a championship, the intangible perspective from team, or player, is just as important as a specific skill set. One of the traits that separate champions from contenders is resilience. The essence of not giving up, even when the odds do not seem in your favor, is a key ingredient for success.
The Miami HEAT expressed this type of relentless play many times this season. Miami has played in 100 games since the season began and has lost two in a row just three times. The last time they lost consecutive games was in January against Indiana and Portland. As spectators might define a loss as a sign of weakness, the HEAT use it to remind the basketball world that they should never be counted out. In its 2013 Eastern Conference showdown with the Indiana Pacers, Miami responded to its three losses by outscoring the Pacers by a combined 52 points in three wins.
“There’s a maturity with this group,” said Coach Erik Spoelstra. “It’s not a guarantee. We don’t take that for granted. But our guys get angry. They own it. We all own it together. And then we just work together to try to get better.”
During their historic 27-game win streak, Miami found itself in an unusual situation as they trailed by 27 points, in the third quarter, against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 20th. However, Miami remained focused and went on an incredible 37-10 scoring run in the third and fourth quarters that tied the game. The HEAT emerged with a 98-95 comeback victory.
But resiliency isn’t limited to the leadership of a team’s best player as it’s also displayed when the entire team contributes. After losing the first game of the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, Miami exemplified this in Game Two. James started slowly, making just two of his first 12 shots, but teammates Mario Chalmers (19 points), Ray Allen (13 points on 5-of-8 shooting) and Chris Bosh (12 points, 10 rebounds) shouldered the load, and the HEAT won 103-84.
"To be able to bounce back from certain situations, you have to have a toughness, you have to have a collective character," Spoelstra said. "We've also been through enough pain collectively that that can be motivating."
Resilience can show its face in different ways. As it pertains to the Miami HEAT, it shows itself in 15 different forms. The beauty of this concept emphasizes how adversity brings the team closer together, whereas in some cases in can tear teams, or players, apart. For Miami, resilience has been staying the course, even when the rest of the world doubts you. Resilience is looking at your teammates and challenging them to give every single ounce of their effort, knowing that they will answer the call. Resilience is bouncing back from injury in order to help your team win.
As a result of their relentless play, resilience has shown its face during the Miami HEAT’s 2012-2013 season. If there is one thing that Miami has displayed throughout this season, it’s that they should never be counted out.