Miami Heat: Breaking Down the Biggest Flaws During Recent Swoon in South Beach
What is going on with the Miami Heat?
Just 6-4 over the last 10 games, the team is showing that they are far from infallible with the regular season winding down.
In order to break the slump, head coach Erik Spoelstra held an extended practice on Monday afternoon with Pat Riley in attendance and overseeing the team he put together.
ESPN's Tom Haberstroh has the details of what has Spoelstra and Riley concerned:
The Heat averaged a scorching 102 possessions in their four games in December, but pulled back to an average of about 94 possessions in January and February. In March, the Heat slowed to a crawl, averaging 91 possessions during a month where they put up an underwhelming 10-6 record.
The accelerated pace that propelled the team to an 8-1 start? That's in the rear-view mirror.
Miami is third in offensive efficiency and fifth in defensive efficiency, but that hasn't led to the same success the Heat enjoyed earlier this season.
Haberstroh, a statistical wizard who routinely provides excellent analysis of the Heat no matter what direction the club is trending in, provided five troubling trends he is currently seeing with the team.
The two biggest takeaways are the following: LeBron James is not attacking the rim as often as he was earlier this season, and Chris Bosh's rebounding rate has dropped significantly from where it was to begin the season.
Both of those things made the Heat incredibly difficult to compete with early in the season, and unless each player can rediscover what made them successful in the early part of the campaign, it's going to be a major problem in Miami as the postseason approaches.
Bosh's 11 rebounds in the Heat's most recent loss to the Celtics was the first time he's reached double-digit boards since February 21.
For comparison purposes, Bosh had nine double-digit rebounding performances before logging his 10th on April 1.
Bosh averaged just 6.2 rebounds per game during March, and that's simply not going to cut it. The Heat need him to be more aggressive on the glass in order to enjoy sustainable success.
However, the more concerning trend is what we're seeing from James.
James wasn't settling for long-range jump shots at the beginning of the season, but he's taken more and more jumpers as the season has unfolded.
He's increased his average three-point attempts per game in every month of the season since December, a sign that fatigue could be getting to James.
James' average assists have also suffered since January, and that can be partially correlated to the fact that he's spending more of his time on the perimeter rather than driving to the hole.
This team has shown that it is capable of overcoming turbulent times in the past, but if Miami is going to live up to championship expectations, both James and Bosh need to step up in a big way.
If that doesn't happen, the new-look Heat will look like the same team that lost to Dallas in the 2011 NBA Finals.
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