The Miami Heat are killing time until they can go for a third straight championship. As such, the Heat don't have to be concerned yet that they trail the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference, since they can turn on the switch at any time. Everything else before the playoffs is old hat -- even a visit to the White House, which the Heat took for the second year in a row on Jan. 14.
The Heat were honored by the No. 1 Chicago Bulls fan in the nation, President Barack Obama, just like last year. Ironically, Miami beat the President's hometown team on the road to this championship, knocking out Chicago in the second round. Although Derrick Rose is out again, the Bulls are actually tied for fifth place in the East with a 17-19 record, so they could meet up with the Heat in the second round once more.
However, no one other than the Pacers is expected to give the Heat a tough time in the East, which would make a shot at a third straight White House visit easier. Miami couldn't be any luckier to get back there than it was this past season, given how it survived seven games with Indiana and was seconds from a six-game NBA Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Thanks to Ray Allen's tying Game 6 three-pointer, a subsequent overtime win and a Game 7 triumph, the Heat got their second ring and second White House trip. It also earned them a little roast from the President, joking about how they're both fighting for "a little respect" and how no one brings people together like the Heat.
The days where Miami and its "Big Three" are hated by most fans have likely passed -- except in Indiana, San Antonio, Chicago and Oklahoma City. They can still make new enemies in their quest for a three-peat, although the Heat still have 45 games left until their real season starts.
LeBron James is still just warming up, as he has only averaged 16 field goal attempts per game. Yet he told ESPN on Jan. 14 that he does get jealous of Kevin Durant for taking over 30 shots a game -- although he has to these days with Russell Westbrook injured.
James can start catching up on Jan. 15, as the Heat stay in Washington to play the Wizards.