December 26th, 2011
03:19 PM ET

Get ready to crown King James

LeBron James showed on Christmas Day that he can lead Miami Heat to NBA glory this season.
LeBron James showed on Christmas Day that he can lead Miami Heat to NBA glory this season.

The Miami Heat chose to remain in their locker room while the Dallas Mavericks celebrated their championship at mid-court before Sunday's season-opener for both teams.

Miami then came out and burned hotter than a pine forest in mid-August, building a 35-point lead in the third quarter en route to a more than comfortable opening-day win over the team that beat them in last season’s Finals.

While the Mavericks were certainly distracted by the banner-raising ceremony prior to the game and are not as bad as the Heat made them look, there is no question that Miami’s performance on Christmas Day was the rule and not the exception going forward.

Fans, critics and pundits alike must expect Miami to dominate this lockout-shortened season.

They must expect LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and company to bury teams early and often, just as they did to the defending champions on Sunday.

Compared to last season, the Heat are deeper, healthier and obviously more experienced. Add that mix to a team that was just two wins short of a title last June, and you realize that the Heat truly is on for this campaign.

If you are an avid Heat-hater and you’re searching for any teams that may prevent "King James" from finally being crowned, look no further than the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Both the Bulls and Thunder are young, deep and are led by superstars in Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant respectively.

The rest of the contenders are nothing more than pretenders. In the East, the New York Knicks may have acquired Tyson Chandler to play alongside the dynamic duo of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, but they don’t play enough defense and don’t have enough depth to make a serious run.

The Boston Celtics have struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons mainly due to their advancing age. With the condensed season bringing lots of games in a short amount of time, I expect that trend to continue.

Miami’s in-state rivals the Orlando Magic are too distracted by Dwight Howard’s inevitable departure to be taken seriously. Howard, who becomes a free agent at the end of this season, has already been tipped for a move to either the New Jersey Nets or L.A. Lakers.

Speaking of the Lakers, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol don’t have the legs to run with the rest of the league’s elite. The departure of Lamar Odom to Dallas and longtime coach Phil Jackson’s retirement signal a changing of the guard not only out West, but in Los Angeles.

L.A.’s other team –- the historically woeful Clippers –- brought in Chris Paul to play alongside the high-flying Blake Griffin.

While they’re sure to be must-see TV, they need at least another season to gel and be considered a force once the postseason rolls around.

As for the San Antonio Spurs and defending champions Mavericks? Both have tremendous quality and experience, but their best days are certainly behind them. Dallas may put together one final deep playoff run, but won’t be a challenge for the Thunder or Heat.

The stage is set for LeBron to win his first NBA title. If Christmas Day’s hardwood action was any indication, then "King James" and company won’t have to stay in their locker room during next year’s season opener.

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Filed under:  U.S. Sport
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Rodrigo

    Miami x OKC in this year's finals with Miami winning 4 games to 1. You heard it here first folks!

    December 26, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  2. dhero

    So the so called King James dominated in the 1st game of the season, a game that means absolutely nothing to the last series of games he horrendously choked... and we are ready to just give him a championship ring?????? CNN... please stop talking about sports .

    December 27, 2011 at 12:08 am | Reply
  3. the rainman

    "Fans, critics and pundits alike must expect Miami to dominate this lockout-shortened season.

    They must expect LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and company to bury teams early and often, just as they did to the defending champions on Sunday."

    Wow that was a flattering article. What does David Stern's you know what taste like? I'm not a Mavs fan but they are the champions after all not the Miami Heat. From the tone of that article you would have thought the Heat won in June. No offense but Lebron – while great -doesn't have a ring but every hack sports 'journalist' keeps writng about him like he's won as many as Jordan or Magic. Until he get's one let's try and be real here.

    I noticed very little discussion of the OKC Thunder and none about The Bulls in this article. Wonder why. Front runners still hanging on Lebron...sad

    December 27, 2011 at 12:13 am | Reply
  4. ted

    I love NBA

    December 27, 2011 at 1:02 am | Reply
  5. Boris Vinogradsky

    Get ready to crown WHO? LBJ? Just wait a second...
    Crown a kid who never went to college? Who has a throng of cronies sucking on him like leeches? Crown someone who CHOKES in every important game in play-offs for the last 7 seasons? Crown someone who betrayed the city which offered him everything?
    Just wait a second... We will wait for the playoffs, and, if he performs well in the Finals, I may change my mind. Maybe.

    December 27, 2011 at 7:40 am | Reply
    • KaYco

      What did Cleveland have to offer him?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  6. Boris Vinogradsky

    And do not ever expect the City of Cleveland to sit silent when this cry-baby is celebrating. Never for Lebron James...

    December 27, 2011 at 7:43 am | Reply
  7. Durmuş

    come on james!! you will win against to celtic

    December 27, 2011 at 9:53 am | Reply
  8. David

    No Lebron, like the Russian said to Rocky in Rocky 4, "You will lose!"

    December 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  9. gustavo

    "Get ready to crown WHO? LBJ? Just wait a second...
    Crown a kid who never went to college? Who has a throng of cronies sucking on him like leeches? Crown someone who CHOKES in every important game in play-offs for the last 7 seasons? Crown someone who betrayed the city which offered him everything?"
    For me NBA completely SUCKS, specially after Magic and MJ leaves the game. LBJ, Kobe, and everybody else on the league worth nothing compared to the REAL greats MJ and Magic, so why bother?

    December 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  10. alehandro

    After their obscene squabbling over the finer points of a multi-billion dollar transaction in a country deep in economic strife who cares who wins the championship? Whichever one of these selfish egotistical players or owners wear the crown it won't put any more food on the table or money in the pocket of struggling Americans. They play a damned GAME for a living but for most of the population life is not a game!

    December 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  11. Socool Mosy

    No. 1 in NBA history, as my appinion

    December 28, 2011 at 10:48 am | Reply
  12. from china

    Nothing need to discuss about King James just before he got ring like Kobe,MJ.please answer the questions that he always disappeared in most important time

    January 12, 2012 at 9:30 am | Reply
  13. from china

    looked at Kobe,in last two games 48+40 and always in final second to be killer of games

    January 12, 2012 at 9:33 am | Reply

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