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Dan Shaughnessy

Can’t stand the Heat

By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / November 11, 2010

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I am a Heat Hater.

Miami’s basketball team can’t lose enough games to make me happy. When I pass under a television in a crowded airport and see the score crawl, if the Heat are losing, I crack a big smile. I hope they lose ’em all.

The Celtics are in Miami tonight to play the third-place Heat.

The third-place Heat. Don’t you love it? I want them to be the Miami Clown Machine.

We are a couple of weeks into this historic NBA season, and the Heat own a 5-3 record, trailing the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks in the vaunted Southeast Division of the NBA East. If the playoffs started today, the Heat would be the No. 4 seed, behind the Magic, Hawks and Celtics.

It’s going to be tough for the Celtics to beat the Heat for a second time, because the Green might be without the wounded-knee O’Neal brothers tonight and Delonte West still has some suspension to serve. Miami no doubt will bring its A game.

But the early trends are exactly what I was hoping to see. The Heat got out of the blocks slowly, submitting an opening-night stinker at TD Garden, scoring only 9 points in the first quarter of their first game. They got on a little bit of a roll after leaving Boston, but fell off the cliff at home Tuesday night against the Jazz.

Utah, a .500 team coming into the game — and a team that had lost seven straight games in Miami — trailed by 22 points in the second quarter, but rallied to win, 116-114, in overtime.

Great. The Miami Frauds blew a 22-point lead at home.

How soon before Pat Riley comes to the rescue of kiddie coach Erik Spoelstra? Think Wade Phillips was in over his head? Take a good look at young Erik trying to command the Miami Ego Machine. The tumblers are in place for maniacal Pat to take over. Of course Riley wants another ring from the bench.

How sweet it is to see the Heat fizzle instead of sizzle. If only it could stay like this tonight, and throughout the season.

Remember the preening and the fog machines and the hideous chest-thumping at American Airlines Arena after LeBron James told us he was taking his talents to South Beach? That was the night he said he was planning on bringing multiple championships to Miami — “not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven . . .’’

It was disgusting. How about winning one before you talk about seven?

When LeBron and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade, those blinded by the lights were quick to anoint the 2010-11 Heat as the NBA’s best-ever team. What rubbish.

The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls compiled the best record in league history, 72-10, after a start of 41-3. The Heat would have to win their next 36 games to match the start of Messrs. Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman.

Thirty-six in a row? That would top the streak of 33 in a row established by the world champion Lakers who went 69-13 in 1971-72.

The ’96 Bulls, ’72 Lakers, and ’67 76ers are always mentioned when we talk about the best team in the history of the NBA. My selection as Team Best Suited to Defend The Universe would be the 1985-86 Celtics. The ’86 Celtics had five Hall of Famers and went 40-1 at home. The Heat need to go 37-0 at home the rest of the way if they want to match the ’86 Celtics.

Any way you cut it, the Heat are overrated. Take a long look at Bosh, for starters. How in the name of Elgin Baylor did Bosh get lumped in with James and Wade? He simply doesn’t belong. He has been a big numbers guy with a bad team. Now he is the answer to the question, “What’s wrong with this picture?’’

LeBron . . . D-Wade . . . Bosh?

It’s a little like Ruth . . . Gehrig . . . DiMaggio . . . Mantle . . . Costanza?

Wade is leading the Heat with 26 points per game. LeBron is averaging a healthy 20.6 and had a triple-double against Utah Tuesday. Incredibly, he snatched his first offensive rebound of the season in Game 8. I am not kidding. The King has two offensive rebounds this year. Next time he asks, “What should I do?’’ let’s all stand up and say, “Follow your shot one time!’’ Moses Malone he is not.

Elite point guards are killing the Heat, which is one reason the Celtics have a shot tonight. But in reality, it’s hard to imagine Miami losing two straight at home. Much as I hate to admit it, there is a ton of talent in South Beach, and the Heat are probably going to get better as the season unfolds.

But they got way ahead of themselves with the smoke machines and the predictions. And how great would it be if the Celtics beat them again tonight . . . and again in the Eastern Conference finals?

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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