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We're Only Getting Taste of How Good Miami Heat Can Be in These Playoffs

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 06:  LeBron James #6 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat look on during the game against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Arena on March 6, 2013 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
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Zach BuckleyFeatured Columnist IVOctober 26, 2016

The Miami Heat are the best thing going in the NBA.

A pair of double-digit wins to open the postseason has done whatever convincing was needed after last year's championship run.

Yet the Heat have yet to even show their best hand.

And that isn't an inference the basketball world made after catching even a remote glimpse of mortality from the South Beach superstars. Rather, it's a direct admission from Miami's key contributor, reigning MVP LeBron James.

James said that despite Dwyane Wade's impressive stat line in Game 2 (21 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals) and his awe-inducing putback slam, his All-Star teammate is still bothered by the knee injury that kept him sidelined for nine of Miami's final 14 games in the regular season.

"I know he wasn't 100 percent," James said (via Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida). "It's just his will... Hopefully that knee continues to get better each and every game. If it does, no telling [how good the Heat can be]."

Well, there is a slight indication of Miami's massive potential. From Feb. 3 to March 25, this same group rattled off 27 straight victories, dismantling its opponents by more than 11 points per game during the stretch.

This time around, Erik Spoelstra's squad needs a mere 14 wins before it can go partying along Biscayne Boulevard for the second consecutive year. And while the Heat certainly don't need to win all 14 consecutively, this does have the makings of a team built to accomplish such a lofty feat.

Ravaged by injuries to some of its premier performers, the Eastern Conference might not have enough talent left to field even one All-Star group from its other seven remaining teams to topple the Heat.

The West offers a stiffer set of challengers on the horizon, but you'd be hard pressed to find any hoops head willing to wager on any team surviving a best-of-seven series with Miami.

Spoelstra's position-less system masterfully blends the versatile talents of James, Wade and Chris Bosh, all while employing perhaps the best supporting staff in the league.

Norris Cole and Chris Andersen sparked Miami's game-clinching, possibly series-ending, 98-86 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2. Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller flexed similar momentum-turning talents earlier in the year.

The only team capable of thwarting Miami's bid to raise its third championship banner is the Heat themselves. An inconsistent effort here, a debilitating injury there and we all could be left wondering what to make of the dominant dynasty that wasn't.

Of course those challenges are no different than the ones facing the other 15 teams fortunate enough to still be playing meaningful basketball at this time of year. And those clubs aren't lucky enough to be playing with the same stacked deck as Miami, or enjoying the same subsequent margin of error that provides.

Whether or not Wade can find his way back to 100 percent before these playoffs are over, the rest of the roster should still be entertaining championship thoughts.

James is right—there is no telling just how strong this franchise could get with a healthy Wade leaving his imprint on both ends of the floor. But the real question is whether or not that will actually affect which team will be the last one standing when June rolls around.

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