Despite owning the best record in the Eastern Conference this season, Miami has been overlooked at times, lacking the star power of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh they had a decade ago. And according to Le Batard, whose biases on the topic include being a Miami Heat fan, the disrespect was on full display Saturday night, when ESPN’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 coverage was focused on the Boston Celtics.
“It is clear to me, watching the televised analysis of this Miami Heat team, that these announcers have not been watching this Miami Heat basketball team, like, at all,” Le Batard ranted of ESPN’s coverage. “I have not seen a team get this deep in, where the national people don’t have any idea what this team is and continue to doubt this team.”
“The Miami Heat played an overwhelming first half of basketball and the whole halftime analysis on ESPN was about the Celtics.” – Dan on the disrespect of the Miami Heat.
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— Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (@LeBatardShow) May 23, 2022
Before we blame Le Batard’s media analysis on being a South Florida homer, we should at least cite last week’s rant from ESPN’s Jay Williams, who said “shame on media” for disrespecting the Heat all season long. Entering the NBA Playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics were garnering more attention than Miami. No disrespect to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but the Heat don’t have a bonafide superstar who can top the jersey sales leaderboard.
“I’m watching Stephen A. Smith and Mike Greenberg and Mike Wilbon and Jalen Rose at halftime,” Le Batard said. “And all they’re talking about is the energy and [Jayson] Tatum hits a three at the end and I’m like, ‘they’re down 15 at home!’ How can you spend this entire half talking about how great the Celtics are!”
Miami took a 15-point lead over Boston into halftime Saturday night. And looking back on the ESPN/ABC halftime show which featured just 2 minutes and 45 seconds of analysis, the Countdown crew was focused on Boston, which you can watch for yourself below.
“I really do feel, that the Celtics are better to have in the Finals, I think the Celtics are what people are rooting for,” Le Batard continued. “They do not want the Miami Heat in the Finals. Am I being homerific when I say that? Because the coverage seems like it’s soaked in it…the Miami Heat played an overwhelming first half of basketball and the whole halftime analysis on ESPN was about the Celtics.”
But this was only Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the halftime focus being on the Celtics was less about ESPN’s desire to see the bigger national draw advance to the championship round, and more about Boston coming off a 10-0 run.
Two minutes prior to halftime, Miami had a 25-point lead, all but telling the audience to go make new Saturday night plans. But the 10-0 run from Boston was ESPN’s avenue to say, ‘we have a game here, stick with us.’ And that’s exactly what Smith, Greenberg, Wilbon, and Rose were doing.
The NBA Playoffs have been loaded with blowouts this year. ESPN wasn’t openly rooting to see Boston get to the NBA Finals, they were rooting and attempting to convince the audience that despite Miami’s 15-point lead, this was still a game worth watching.