"Beat the Heat" has been the mantra of fans leaguewide since LeBron James and Chris Bosh took their talents to South Beach and joined Dwyane Wade. Few teams have earned four victories in a season -- regular season and postseason combined -- against Miami since.
But even before the No. 6 seed Nets and No. 2 Heat tip off in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series tomorrow night, they've got that much going for them.
Of course, that also means that for the Nets to reach the conference final or beyond, they'll need to have defeated the reigning two-time NBA champions a total of eight times since the season began. If that sounds difficult, it should.
The Heat will be well-rested -- they completed a sweep of the Bobcats last Monday. That will be to the benefit of chronically hobbled Wade most of all, but the time off also allowed James to go easy on his ailing quad.
The Nets have rhythm on their side, having won their last two games to cap their series victory. That will help, but the team also needs Deron Williams and Joe Johnson to continue their elevated level of play.
These Nets were assembled with championship aspirations, but Miami already knows how to turn such dreams into reality. The Heat will move on after a hard-fought six games.