Miami Heat Are Just As Good As Lakers Or Anyone Else, Despite Poor Record

CLEVELAND OH - DECEMBER 02: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat talks to Dwyane Wade #3 while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on December 2 2010 in Cleveland Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Miami Heat may not have a great win-loss record, but make no mistake: they are an awesome team.

As the Miami Heat slaughtered another mediocre team in the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, the team has moved its record against squads with losing marks to 10-1. Miami has famously had trouble against teams at .500 or better, going just 2-7 to date.

But as the Lakers have shown this week, it's not a unique problem. The Lakers are now 11-2 against teams under .500 and 2-4 against teams at or above .500. This is not surprising. It's completely logical that most good or great teams will do better against bad opponents than good or great ones. Yet for Miami, it has become a specific dig, that the Heat will beat up on lesser foes (see: the Cleveland game, and the ones against Detroit and Washington before that) and crumble at the feet of its peers.

Have any of the NBA's contenders done especially well against the league's best? San Antonio is 7-2 against good teams, and 8-1 against bad teams. The Celtics are 6-2 against good teams and 8-2 against the bad. The Magic are 5-3 against good teams and 9-1 against the bad. The Hornets are 4-4 against good teams and 9-1 against bad teams. The Mavericks are 6-3 against good teams and 8-1 against the bad. The Jazz are 7-4 against good teams and 8-1 against the bad.

So basically, every single one of the major title contenders perform better against bad teams than against good teams. Science! The only difference is that Miami's performance against good teams is, by record, worse than that of its contemporaries.

Wait, there's another difference: seven of Miami's nine games against teams at .500 or better have come against the best-of-the-best, or teams with no more than five losses. Six of the Heat's seven losses have come to the Celtics (twice), Hornets, Magic, Jazz and Magic. The other loss was a stinker against the Pacers. The Lakers' two wins against .500 or better teams: the Suns and Bulls, two (currently) non-elite but good squads. L.A. is 0-1 against the league's elite (Utah), and 2-3 against the good-not-great teams.

The Heat struggle against elite teams, do OK against good-not-great teams and maim bad teams. The Lakers struggle against elite teams, do OK against good-not-great teams and maim bad teams.

I'm not defending the Heat's record; I'm noting that the Heat, despite their record, have been quite good so far, and have faced a tougher schedule than you think. Miami will run out of games against Orlando and Boston -- they are halfway there already, actually -- and will pick up more games against the middle-of-the-East pack, like the Knicks and Hawks. And, at some point, the Lakers will draw more games against the league's elite. And so well the Celtics. And the Magic. And everyone else.

There's a reason Miami has the East's best point differential (and is basically tied with the league-best Spurs) despite a less-than-impressive record: because the team is really, really good. When the Ws and Ls shake out to show as much, don't credit some magnificent turnaround stemming from the Cleveland blow-out. An improved record has been in the cards, and is meant to be. Let science into your heart!

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.