What is exactly going on in South Beach? The Miami Heat have been the most scrutinized team in the NBA, we knew this was going to happen before the season started. Moments after the Miami Heat lost their fourth straight game to the Chicago Bulls, Erik Spoelstra told reporters that some players in the locker room were CRYING. Seriously? What has become of the Miami Heat machine that was supposed to storm through the rest of the league? CRYING! The Heat have pillaged and plundered the mediocre teams but can’t seem to beat any of the legitimate teams they will inevitably tangle with come playoff time. Sure there are holes on this team. Pat Riley constructed this team knowing that he was going to have to get bargain basement players to surround the big three. For the most part, the Heat are exactly what we expected them to be. They are deadly in the open court,scoring at will in transition. When the game bogs down to half court basketball, its absolutely excruciating to watch. Lebron James and Dwyane Wade were supposed to open up passing lanes with their inside penetration. It all looked great on paper. Mike Miller, James Jones,and Eddie House camping out behind the 3 point line for open looks at the rim. Now everything is falling apart. The Heat jump out to a 16 point lead against the Knicks and can’t close out the game. Midway through the 3rd quarter at home against the Orlando Magic the Heat go up 24 and end up soiling themselves as the Magic go on a 3 point barrage,handing the Heat one of their most embarrassing losses in franchise history. Miami goes up against the Western Conference powerhouse San Antonio Spurs and get sodomized by Matthew Bonner and company. Entering a must win at home against the Chicago Bulls, Erik Spoelstra declared his team ready now that all the bandwagon jumpers have abandoned this sinking ship. What happens? A devastating 87-86 loss to the Chicago that leapfrogs the Bulls into second place in the Eastern Conference and sends Miami not only firmly entrenched in third place, but reportedly into an alligator teared frenzy.
Is it too late for Miami to reassert themselves in the East? For starters the team has to learn how to close out games and more importantly get the right starting 5 on the court when the game is on the line. Spoelstra will get all the blame and for the most part it isn’t fair. There are however moments like in Thursday’s loss to the Magic that leave fans scratching their heads. With Miami down by 3 in the closing seconds, coach Spoelstra had Lebron James, Dwyane Wade,Chris Bosh, Mike Miller, and Mike Bibby on the court. Chris Bosh and Lebron James missed open looks to tie the game. Chris Bosh? The Heat’s leader in 3 point percentage,makes, and reigning 3 point champion James Jones was on the bench while Chris Bosh is shooting from behind the arc. It is absolutely inexcusable to have your best 3 point shooter on the bench for a big man when there isn’t enough time for rebounds to matter.
The bright side is that all of these games aside from the Spurs game have come down to the wire. It’s rare that the Heat lose in a blowout. It’s also better for them to get these losses out of their system now, as opposed to playoff time. It’s not too late to right the ship. It is time for the Miami Heat to get out the Kleenex and get back to basketball.