The Heat started this NBA season by getting their championship rings and raising a title banner to the rafters. Then they got their clocks cleaned by a Bulls team that looked younger, faster, and hungrier. The Bulls came to Miami on the Heat's ring night and destroyed the Heat, 108-66.
But, believe it or not, I'm not worried. You hope this sort of thing doesn't happen, mainly because the worst ever loss by a defending champ on opening night is not something you hope for. But at the same time, it can't surprise you.
The Heat had stars in their eyes, plain and simple. They were lost in misty water-colored memories. They were complacent and just plain overlooked the team that gave them their hardest playoff challenge last season and then ADDED Ben Wallace.
These guys will get their act together. This game will serve as a wake-up call to these guys. This single game will serve as a season-long reminder to this team that they cannot live in the glory of last season. It's a sobering reminder that last year is over, and it's time to go get another ring.
And if they need any more motivation...
Of 16 ESPN.com NBA experts polled about the season, 13 picked Miami to win the Eastern Conference (John Hollinger and Greg Anthony pick Cleveland, and Chris Sheridan picks Detroit). But of the 13 that selected Miami to win the East, only TWO pick them to be repeat champions. Chris Brousard and Jamal Mashburn. The other 14 all pick whoever their Western Conference pick was. No love for the East. But that's okay. Disrespect us. Ignore us. It worked fine for us last year. (And 4 experts even pick the Mavs to win it. Mark Stein, Jon Barry, and Kiki Vandeweigh all picked a Heat-Mavs rematch, with the MAVS winning it.)