Miami stepping up

It’s easy to say one game out of 82 means nothing.

But for the Miami Heat one game could be proof that they’re for real.

Last Saturday the Heat went into three overtime periods with Western conference power Utah before eventually beating the Jazz 140-129.

The win gives Miami a little breathing room in that they’re two and a half games ahead of the Detroit Pistons for the fifth seed in the Eastern conference.

But the win is not just a boost in the standings but rather in the profile of the team as a contender.

With the re-emergence of Dwayne Wade there was no doubt the Heat would be in most games. But before taking on Utah the big question was whether Wade’s team-mates could come through in the clutch.

Apparently they can. Recently acquired Jermaine O’Neal had his best game in a Heat uniform in the middle while Mario Chalmers stepped up to aid Wade in the backcourt.

Going forward Miami now has a winning formula. Superstar Wade leads the league in scoring, young sharp-shooter Chalmers can hit big shots and inside presence O’Neal contributes in a big way offensively.

If either of those guys isn’t given enough attention defensively then the Heat can win. Then again if those guys are focused on too much then role players like Udonis Haslem and Michael Beasley can shine.

It’s a step to say the one game puts the Heat in the same breath as Boston and Cleveland. But Miami now has a good chance of giving either of those clubs fits if they make it deep into the conference playoffs.

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