Why Miami Heat Shouldn't Worry About Regular-Season Struggles

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Why Miami Heat Shouldn't Worry About Regular-Season Struggles
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With the Miami Heat enjoying one of their best stretches of the season, having won eight consecutive games on their home floor and six straight games overall, people have seemingly forgotten about the struggles that have followed the team throughout the 2012-2013 campaign. 

It's kind of hard to remember them when LeBron James is playing out of his mind, posting 30 or more points in six straight contests while converting a mind-boggling 66 of his last 92 shot attempts. 

Dwyane Wade is also finally starting to get it together as well, seemingly appearing to shake off any remaining ill effects from offseason knee surgery to be a lethal No. 2 option. 

Despite the team's recent domination, the Heat's issues that have hurt them throughout the season have simply been masked. 

The Heat's widely publicized rebounding problems haven't gone away, as they sit in dead last in rebounding (38.9 boards per game). Miami also lacks a signature win on the road, where the team is a mediocre 12-11. 

Even with these issues, the Miami Heat shouldn't worry about their regular-season struggles. 

 

No Need to Worry

The primary reason why Miami doesn't need to worry about its regular-season struggles?

It has proven before that regular-season concerns don't matter. The Heat weren't deep, weren't tall, were too top heavy and lacked a traditional point guard in last year's regular season. 

Then, they beat the taller New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics and ultimately beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games to win the championship. 

This season, they are horrible in the rebounding department, play inconsistently on the road and don't possess a top defense currently. 

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Heat have been undersized since the Big Three era began, and they have still reached the NBA Finals the past two seasons. They haven't allowed that size to affect them, making up for it with their speed and athleticism. 

Miami has been especially subpar on the road this season for a championship contender, falling to the Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks away from the AAA. They are averaging just 98.3 points and are shooting three percent worse.

However, the Heat were able to go 5-5 on the road in last year's postseason run, finishing off the Pacers in Game 6 of the second round, staving off elimination against the Celtics at the Garden and were the only team to beat OKC on the road during the postseason. 

Miami's defense has been uncharacteristically bad this season after making defense its staple in the first two years since LeBron James arrived in town. 

The Heat currently rank 11th in scoring defense at 96.6 points per game and are allowing opponents to shoot 36.3 percent from beyond the arc, which is in the bottom third of the league. 

Regardless, Miami has improved drastically on the defensive end in the previous two months. The Heat have given up 100-plus points just six times in all of February and January combined. 

Their intensity has picked up from the defensive side of the floor, as they are picking up their effort and utilizing their athleticism to overwhelm opponents on D. 

 

"Flipping on the Switch"

Although "flipping on the switch," is probably the most overused phrase in sports, the Heat are so talented and fundamentally sound that they have the luxury of being able to flip a switch come playoff time.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Miami hasn't exactly been the best regular-season team since the Big Three joined forces. Despite two straight finals appearances, they have yet to achieve the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed. 

They finished 58-24 in year one and 46-20 in year two, which are admirable records, but nothing unusually special for the amount of talent they have. 

LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers teams had two 60-win seasons, yet a James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh squad has failed to even secure a weak East's top seed. 

That being said, Miami has still gone 30-14 in the playoffs over the last two years and only allowed one series to go the distance (East finals vs. Boston). 

So even with the rebounding woes, the road concerns and the inconsistent defensive effort, the Heat really don't have a reason to be worried about regular-season issues.

They have shown that they can "flip that switch" in the playoffs, win on the road, play lockdown defense and overcome their lack of size with forceful athleticism and talent. 

The Miami Heat will be good to go come playoff time. 

Actually, they look like they're pretty good to go now. They have the best player on the planet, who happens to be shooting 71 percent from the field in his last six games. 

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