Heat remain beast of the east

Heat remain beast of the east
July 23, 2012, 3:25 pm
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With the pressure of winning his first NBA title off his back, Lebron James and the Miami Heat are looking to repeat next season and they wasted no time in the off-season adding more talent to the fold to strengthen their roster. Withthesignings of sharp-shooter Ray Allen and former Wizards' forward Rashard Lewis, the Heat brought on veteran scorers who can spread the floor with their ability to shoot the ball, especially from three-point range.

Allen, the NBA's all-time leader in three-point shots made, still has a lot of game left in his 37-year old legs, coming off a season in which he averaged 14 points a game in Boston. When in a zone, Allen is one of the most feared jump shooters in the game. Allen has shot an impressive 40 percent from beyond the arc for his career and he would likely come off the bench as the Heat's sixth man next season. James, last season's MVP of the league, and guard Dwyane Wade are two of the best in the league at breaking down defenders -- and with Allen perched on the wing waiting to stroke a three, the Heat's offense is vastly improved.

The Heat are takingmoreof a gamble with Lewis who is coming off an injury-plagued season in D.C. in which the 33-year old played in only 26 games because of sore knees and averaged just 8 points a game. Lewis is clearly on the down side of his career with father time catching up to the former all-star, but perhaps a winningenvironmentin Miami canre-energizethe 6'-10" small forward. Lewis is a career 39 percent three-point shooter, can play multiplepositions and can defend anyone from shooting guards to power forwards.

The big three of James, Wade and ChrisBoshcertainly are the straws that stir the drinks in South Beach but they didn't win the title without the help of role players who stepped in at critical times. Who can forget Mike Miller's 7 three-pointers made in the Game 5 clinching win over Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals?Miller returns along with Shane Battier who also stepped up his game in the post-season to help the Heat with his shooting and defense.

The Heat had a late first-round draft pick this summer but they traded it away for future considerations. The Heat are the clear-cut favorites to win the NBA title again next season as the start to something good got even better, specifically with the addition of Allen.