But there's no doubt it will be on James' shoulders more than on Wade. When a guy wins his third MVP award, he had better be the one who elevates higher than anyone else to compensate for the loss of a top player.
Nonetheless, does anyone expect the Heat to win a title now? It wouldn't be surprising to see Miami reach the NBA Finals. With James and Wade, they should beat Indiana with or without Bosh. And that might be enough to beat Boston as well. A couple years ago a bigger Celtics team would have been tougher to oust. They're not as big anymore.
Remember, James carried a less talented Cleveland team to the finals in 2007.
Winning a title, though, is another story. Unless, that is, Bosh returns in time (though even then they should not be considered the favorite). Against any of the top Western Conference teams the Heat will need a low-post scoring threat (and more depth) as the games become less about transition and more about a halfcourt attack.
Guess this sort of karma is why you don't celebrate titles before they're won. But if the Heat do manage to win somehow, then James will have performed arguably the best act of his career. And if not? As long as the Heat reach the finals, Bosh's injury provides an excuse.
- John Keim