Why the Regular Season Does and Doesn’t Matter
By: Matt Pineda
Why the regular season matters, but doesn’t matter:
The Miami HEAT currently have the 4th best record in the NBA, are securely 2nd in their own conference and have a shot at the number one seed in the East. They’ve been the Lakers, Bulls, Celtics, Thunder and Spurs, yet so many questions are being raised if they can do it this year.
Rightfully so, with their performance in the Finals last year, nothing is a given for this team. They will have to earn everything they get. But it’s as if we didn’t learn anything from last year’s run.
Don’t you remember? Miami got off to a bad start at 9-8, then went real hot winning 22 out of 23, and then things evened out. They lost 3/4 to Boston, all 3 to Chicago, both games to Dallas. They couldn’t beat the good teams, right? I have to admit I was in the same boat. I didn’t think, with the way the played the regular season, that they could have beaten Boston in a series.
But I was wrong, so were many others. What we forgot was that extra level that certain players and teams are capable of getting. We’ve seen Miami play that way before, so fresh off the Boston Celtics loss, here’s your take on the regular season.
Why it matters
It gives you glimpses of strengths and weaknesses
Teams are able to find out what works, doesn’t work, figure out rotations, etc. The regular season gives players time to familiarize themselves with each other, the playbook, coaches and all.
It provides seeding
The most important part about the regular season is that you determine your seed, which then determines who you play and whether you have home court advantage. It’s important to grab home court as much as you can to give yourself the best chance at winning easily.
It creates habits and teamwork
Habits are made, bonds are formed and brotherhoods are developed. The regular season gives a player plenty of time to be in a routine and figure out how to prepare yourself.
Why it doesn’t matter
The post-season is an equal playing field (days off)
Despite the regular season matchups, the playoffs puts everyone on an even playing field. That means your opponent has the same amount of days off as you, same travel itinerary, same playing field. Throughout a regular season, teams play all different types of scenarios, in the playoffs, there is no excuse.
The post-season will bring out the best (no meaningless games)
We all know and have seen how the regular season can be so long. I learned a while ago that I take losses much more seriously than players do. I get upset frustrated, while players understand it’s one game in the season, a meaningless game. Some nights you have it, and some nights you don’t. In the playoffs, there are no meaningless games – every one is vital and that brings out the best in players. That’s why you saw Wade and James take care of the East in 5 games each round. Focusing on one team with the end in sight can elevate their games.
It’s just one game
The regular season is comprised of one game series. It doesn’t hurt Miami to drop one game, and Wade even expressed, it’s ok, we will be ready when it’s time to be ready.
For all these reasons, please remember the regular season is what it is – the regular season. But struggled last year and ran through the East favorably last year. If the HEAT are healthy, and ready they will take care of business again this year.
So, do yourself a favor, don’t let one regular season game sway your thinking. Just as one win against OKC will bring people bowing and saying they are the best, to a night where Boston shoots 60% (just ridiculous) and Boston is now a contender. Remember, the playoffs are around the corner, and that will bring the true light of who the best team is.
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