Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Show of Maturity by Heat Rookies

The Wade-less Miami Heat and the Garnett/Allen-less Celtics took on each other Wednesday night at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, MA. Both teams took on a burden that isn't typical to their game plan - going without their star player(s). Although the Celtics edged out the Heat in an overtime victory, I think it said more about the Heat than it did about the Celtics and their winning ways.

This entire season the Miami Heat had not played a single game without Dwyane Wade, and the way he was playing made him not only the MVP of the team but a prospective MVP of the league. All of Miami's success had been placed on his shoulders, and rightfully so, but nobody stops to consider how good his young supporting cast really is. I think Wednesday night they made a statement.

This statement was about letting everyone know that the Miami Heat is a team and not just a one-man show. Heat rookies, Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley, combined for 40 points out of the Heat's 108 total. That's almost 40% of the team's scoring coming from first-year players versus a veteran Boston team. Not to mention, Chalmers was one assist shy of a double-double and Beasley recorded a total of seven rebounds.

This would mean nothing versus a team like the Oklahoma City Thunder, whose roster is made up of young guns and not-so-prominent players. But since Boston is the reigning champion of the NBA, we must give some credit to the performances that the two rookies displayed on Wednesday night. Most players that were dressed in green had a championship ring and intangible experience under their belts, for the exception of Stephon Marbury, Mikki Moore, and Bill Walker (and they only combined for 12 points).

In the fourth quarter of the game, Super Mario and B-Easy contributed 14 out of the Heat 24 and Chalmers went on to hit two big three-pointers in overtime to keep the game within reach. It was virtually a point-for-point showdown between the two teams and the Heat rookies were t the front lines. Unfortunately, it all ended in a losing effort although not much was expected from a team that was missing D. Wade.

For Chalmers and Beasley to show such poise and confidence in the final quarters versus the Celtics it was a pretty promising sight for Heat fans everywhere. I'd say that if you were to look at these two rookies as an investment, Pat Riley will likely be cashing in real soon once they develop even more by the end of this season. This seems like the future of the franchise and it's safe to say that it's a bright one. We'll see how the Heat youth continue to progress down the road and so that we can determine how significant their play becomes in the Heat's future success.

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