MIAMI -- It was D-Wade Corp., LeBron Inc. and Bosh Limited. Or something like that.
Two years ago, the three guys who now star on the Miami Heat were doing there own things with different teams. Dwayne Wade was with the Heat, LeBron James in Cleveland and Chris Bosh in Toronto.
Then they had a merger.
Well, not all consolidations are immediately smooth. And when Wade, James and Bosh all joined forces last season, there was no title.
"They were good players on three different teams (in 2009-10), and they finally came together," said Sacramento coach Keith Smart. "They were three individual corporations in one building (last season) because they were good players. They weren't a team yet. But they've had a chance to grow They're at a different level (now)."
The Heat sure are. Armed with the NBA's best record at 25-7 and with a impressive six-game winning streak, Smart says "no question" the Heat are playing their best since the three stars arrived in Miami.
Then again, who isn't saying that? With the Heat trying to win a seventh straight game by double digits against Smart's Kings on Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena, all the card-carrying members of the Big Three say Miami has not looked this good at any point during the previous 1 years.
"I think that's obvious," Bosh said. "I think we're playing our best ball since we've been together. Things are just clicking."
During their six-game streak, the Heat have outscored foes by an average of 17.7 points. They've won 17 of their past 20 since a surprising three-game losing streak in January.
"Consistently, yes," James said of the Heat playing the best since he showed up on South Beach.
But there is one drawback for James. With games these days hardly ever close, his 36.7 minutes average is on pace to be a career low and is more than two minutes less than what he logged last season.
"I'm getting tired of sitting down in the fourth quarter personally," James quipped. "It's messing up my averages."
If James sees much late-game time against the 10-21 Kings, that would be a surprise. Smart admits it has been a bit scary watching Miami's recent game films.
Smart coached Golden State last season. The Warriors went 0-2 then against Miami, losing by an average margin of 14.5 points and with both games during a stretch from late November to early January when the Heat won 21 of 22.
Still, Smart sees a big difference between the Heat this season and last, when they went 58-24 during the regular season and lost 4-2 to Dallas in the Finals.
"All those guys have been in starring roles," Smart said of the Big Three. "They haven't been supporting guys. Now, if one guy steps out of the picture for a while, then the other guys play. The next guy steps in, and another guy plays. Everything that came with Miami last year was, Run right into the Finals and run to the championship.' But they weren't a team yet. So now they're doing things in the fashion to where they're a team. You just look at, all of a sudden, LeBron is playing well, Wade steps back. Chris Bosh starts playing well, the (other two) step back They know now how to play off each other."
There are other reasons for Miami's recent awesome play besides the continued meshing of their stars. Point guard has been solidified, with Mario Chalmers and rookie Norris Cole providing an impressive tag-team unit. And the team has more depth, with the return to health of Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller along with the additions of Cole and free-agent signee Shane Battier.
But most of it comes down to James, Wade and Bosh playing even better together. James, who Monday was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the fourth time this season, is averaging 27.9 points, Wade 22.1 and Bosh 18.2.
"This is the best we've been playing," Wade said of the past 1 seasons. "Not just during the (during the six-game winning streak). We've been feeling pretty good since everybody has been healthy. I've been back for (14) games (after missing nine of the first 18 due to injuries). We've been playing good basketball. It hasn't all resulted in wins, but the majority of it has.
"I think the biggest thing for us is that there are just no egos at all. Guys just want to find a way to win games. You see Chris in two games during this (six-game) stretch where he's had eight points, and you haven't been able to tell. He's not really caring about his scoring output. It's about doing whatever we have to do to make sure that we have the W at the end of the night. I'm not saying that we had egos last year but it was different. Guys were trying to make their name, trying to show their worth. This year, we know our worth. We know what we mean to the team, and we know what we got to do."
What Wade says Miami needs to do now is get even better. As well as they're playing, he said the Heat are "not playing the basketball that we need to win a championship." With that in mind, he says they "want to go to another gear and then another gear."
How many gears do these Heat have? Well, the world's greatest cyclists ride 20-gear bikes in the Tour de France, and it wouldn't be a surprise if always-demanding Miami coach Erik Spoelstra wants more than that out of his team.
It doesn't matter that the Heat have won five straight on the road. It doesn't matter that last week they joined the 1970-71 NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks as just the second team in NBA history to win three games in three nights on the road by 10 or more points. Spoelstra has no problem finding things his team can do better.
"Certainly," said Spoelstra, making a question about how the Heat can improve appear to be the easiest one he's been asked all week. "More consistent defensively and doing a better job of containing the three-point line."
Spoelstra went on to discuss some other items he believes the Heat must improve upon. He had to have some reason for the team to hold a practice Monday.
Nevertheless, Miami Heat Corp. is now one smooth-running outfit.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson