The Miami Heat are the most expensive road team this season. The team is expected to three-peat, and LeBron is the favorite again for MVP. Although they may be the most hated team in the league, there’s no denying the Heat are talented. Led by the Big Three, the Heat have been nothing short of spectacular the past couple of years. Sure, their confidence may rub fans the wrong way, and their arrogance can get annoying, but let’s be honest, if your hometown team won two Championships in a row wouldn’t you expect a little swagger on the court? You can puff out your chest when you’ve got rings to back you up.
Mark Cuban recently compared the LeBron James-led Heat to the Oakland Raiders in their glory days saying:
“Fans either love ‘em or hate ‘em, and that polarization makes for a far more intriguing league for fans, and heightens the competitive juices of rivals.”
This makes the back-to-back NBA Champions a must-see when they come to your town. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you’ll see a good product out on the floor. Whether you began disliking LeBron when he left Cleveland and made a promise of seven titles, or when he took down your favorite team as he began cashing in on that promise, there’s no denying that a seat in the house when Miami is in town gives you the opportunity to watch one of the best talents in NBA history. Furthermore, Miami has shown that they are vulnerable on any given night. Hating them makes a victory against them that much sweeter. I’m sure Bulls fans who were at the United Center last March when their undermanned squad snapped Miami’s 27-game winning streak can attest to the joy of beating the top dog when they come to town.
Having said all that, it’s no surprise that four of the top 5 NBA games, based on average ticket price, will be played against the Miami Heat.
Two years ago a young Oklahoma City Thunder team advanced to the NBA Finals only to fall to a more experienced Miami Heat squad. Last season, the two teams looked like they could be destined for a rematch before Russell Westbrook hurt his knee in the first round of the playoffs. Westbrook should be back to full strength by February 20th when the Heat come to town this season. The showdown will be a hot ticket as it features 4 of the NBA’s top 10 players in Westbrook, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. OKC will be looking to prove that they are still the class of the Western Conference this year and could really send a message to the league with a win at home. A win will also leave their fans believing that this rematch of 2012’s Finals could also be a preview of 2014’s.
The January 9 matchup between the top-selling team in the NBA and the reigning NBA Champs has tickets averaging $492 at Madison Square Garden. Melo and his team were 3-1 against the Heat in the regular season last year, scoring 46 more points than Miami over the four games combined. Knicks fans hope to see a similar trend this year; a win against the now two-time Champs would be even sweeter. It’s the first meeting of four between the Eastern Conference foes. In the off-season, both teams improved their frontcourt as the Heat picked up former No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden while the Knicks acquired Ron Artest and added a former No. 1 as well in Andrew Bargnani.
In a rematch from last season’s NBA playoffs, the Thunder and Rockets will meet for the third most expensive game of the NBA season. Houston will come to Chesapeake Energy Arena, an atmosphere that is always deafening and one that gives OKC the best home-court advantage. But, the Thunder face a stiff challenge as most people now consider James Harden and Dwight Howard the best inside-out combination in the league. Kevin Durant recently spoke publicly about the fat that his former teammate Harden should be on the list of Top 10 players in the NBA (replacing Dwayne Wade). Harden was a fan favorite in Oklahoma City, so too was his beard. The “shocking” trade that sent him to Houston created a new rivalry between these teams, one that will surely grow now that both are title contenders.
The only Christmas Day game to bounce into the Top 5 also made our list of Top Holiday Events. Given that the NBA traditionally schedules highly anticipated matchups for the day, pitting the best players against each other, it’s no surprise this headliner has such a steep price tag. Heat vs. Lakers, LeBron vs. Kobe; it’s a game that will not only draw mass TV ratings, but also a sold-out crowd. Both team’s superstars draw comparisons to the greatest NBA player of all-time, Michael Jordan and both have star power surrounding them including Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
Déjà vu? Yes, every Heat, Knicks matchup is in high demand. The February 1st meeting in New York is the most expensive NBA game this season; and despite its steep price, is the top seller entering the start of the regular season. NBA’s lead scorer last season, Carmelo Anthony, led the Knicks to the second round in 2013, the furthest they’ve been in 13 years. But, the Knicks want to make it even deeper this year and play for a Conference title. Is this game the predecessor to what’s to come in the Eastern Conference Finals?
|Date||Top 5 NBA Games 2013-14 Season||Where||Avg. Price|
|2/1/2014||New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat||Madison Square Garden||$644.45|
|12/25/2013||Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat||Staples Center||$615.07|
|12/29/2013||Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets||Chesapeake Energy Arena||$563.72|
|1/9/2014||New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat||Madison Square Garden||$492.44|
|2/20/2014||Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Miami Heat||Chesapeake Energy Arena||$487.44|
Image Credit: Chris Trotman (Getty Images)