Miami Heat's Hottest and Coldest Players Heading into the All-Star Break
The Miami Heat are on fire.
They're not only riding a six-game winning streak, but they're also starting to look like a team that completely understands how to play to each player's strengths.
With LeBron James' historic streak of 30 points and at least 60 percent shooting from the field, and players like Shane Battier and Chris Bosh fitting perfectly into their roles, the Heat look like a team on a mission—a mission to repeat as NBA champions.
It's not all sunshine in Miami though. A few players aren't as hot as the rest and could bring the Heat down from their winning ways.
Luckily the Heat's stars have been making up for guys like Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem, who have been struggling lately. But that might not last as long as Heat fans would hope.
Hypothermia Style Cold: Ray Allen
February Per-Game Stats: 4.8 points, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 23.1 FG%, 22.2 3PFG%
I'm getting cold just looking at those awful shooting percentages from the man better known as Jesus Shuttlesworth.
The NBA's top three-point man is shooting 22.2 percent from beyond the arc over the span of seven games? Yep, it's safe to say that hell has frozen over.
Ray Allen has been absolutely atrocious in February. There's just no way around admitting that.
Sure, he's still bringing opportunistic defense to the court, but his lack of offensive productivity is hard to ignore.
It's amazing that the Heat have won six of seven in February with Allen playing the way he has. That goes to show just how dominant LeBron James and his Big Three compadres truly are.
I know this much—if Allen continues to struggle come playoff time, the Heat are going to have a much more arduous path to a repeat than originally thought.
With Allen playing on the "Norris Cole" level, LeBron has picked up the slack. While James' production has been historic though, I doubt he can keep up 30 points and 60 percent shooting for the rest of the season.
Ice Cube Level Cold: Norris Cole
February Per-Game Stats: 4.1 points, 1.6 assists, 0.9 rebounds, 45.2 FG%
Remember the "You think you're colder than me?" Ice Cube Coors Light commercial? Apparently Norris Cole thinks he's colder than Ice Cube, because he's playing like it.
When you look at Norris Cole's per-game stats during February you might think something along the lines of, "Well, he's not that terrible."
Don't be fooled though. There's no question that Cole should be bringing more to the table than he has been as the Heat's backup point guard.
A majority of the time he's on the court he's there without either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade alongside him. That means the Heat need him to be aggressive and facilitate the offense for their second unit.
Has he done a terrible job of that? Aside from his scoreless and five personal foul performance against the Portland Trail Blazers, he hasn't done a terrible job. But overall he's been very average at best.
Sure, the Heat are winning with what he's bringing to the court. But once playoff time comes around, depth is what helps win championships. Unfortunately the deepest part of Cole right now is his epic flat-top.
"Miserable Cold Rain" Cold: Udonis Haslem
February Per-Game Stats: 4.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 63.6 FG%
You know those day when it feels like it's cold enough to snow, but it's raining, and it's absolutely miserable? That's how Haslem has been in February.
When you consider that Udonis Haslem is averaging just 17.7 minutes per game, his production in February isn't all that terrible.
The "coldness" of Haslem's game isn't on offense because the Heat don't need him to be jacking up more shots. His play on the defensive side of the ball has been the "cold" part of his game as of late.
Haslem simply looks a step behind on defense. He doesn't have the same explosive athleticism on defense that used to define his game. While his rebounding numbers aren't terrible, he's certainly not wowing fans with his intensity on the glass.
To put his defensive laziness into perspective, in the last seven games Haslem has only blocked one shot. If it wasn't for his 13-rebound performance in 18 minutes against the Houston Rockets, he'd be averaging just three rebounds per game in February.
With Chris Andersen playing inconsistently as of late, the Heat need more production from Haslem on the glass and on the defensive side of the ball.
Haslem has the potential to continue being the "emotional glue" of the Heat, as he's been for the past few seasons. But if his production doesn't improve, that role will continue to be LeBron's. I'm sure Haslem doesn't want that.
"Ice Cream on a Hot Summer Day" Cold: Mario Chalmers
February Per-Game Stats: 7.6 points, 3.4 assists, 1.6 rebounds, 40.4 FG%
According to an interview with Fox Sports Florida's Chris Tomasson, Mario Chalmers still thinks he's a top 10 point guard in the NBA—at least this time he's in the "middle" of the pack instead of the top.
Either way, I can't find many elite NBA point guards who aren't averaging double digits in at least one major statistical category.
Sure, you could argue that with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, there aren't many offensive opportunities for Chalmers. But in reality, those players free up the court for him, and Chalmers doesn't take advantage of that often enough.
Chalmers isn't a bad player. He just doesn't understand what the Heat need from him. The Heat need Chalmers to find open space on the perimeter and knock down shots, the way Ray Allen typically does.
More often than not though, Chalmers finds himself driving into the paint or creating offense for himself, like a shooting guard rather than a point guard.
Last year's championship run was solidified by Chalmers' aggressive and consistent play at the point, but the same can't be said about him this season. LeBron and Wade are carrying the Heat right now, but they'll need more production from Chalmers as the season continues.
"First Day of Spring" Warm: Chris Bosh
February Per-Game Stats: 21.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 61.0 FG%, 33.3 3PFG%
You know that first day of spring when it's like 55 degrees out, but because of winter it feels like it's 85?
Yep, that's how hot Chris Bosh has been as of late.
His 21.6 points per game and 61.0 percent shooting is actually ridiculously impressive when you think about it. I mean 8.4 more points per game and he'd be on LeBron James' level.
The one issue with Bosh's play though is still his ability and willingness to rebound. He's the Heat's "center," but he's averaging under seven rebounds per game.
Putting his lack of intensity on the glass aside, his offensive play as of late has been integral to the Heat's six-game winning streak.
People love to hate on Bosh for his "soft" play, but in reality he's been extremely strong on the offensive side of the ball. Now let's just hope that he figures out what boxing out is before the playoffs come around.
"Lasagna Right out of the Oven" Hot: Dwyane Wade
February Per-Game Stats: 23.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 2.6 steals, 49.6 FG%
You know when you have to wait like 20 minutes to eat something that just came out of the oven? That might even be an understatement for Dwyane Wade as of late, but it's close.
Wade's production is LeBron-esque, but LeBron is overshadowing Wade's production because he's playing out of his mind.
If LeBron wasn't wearing a Heat jersey, Wade's production would be getting a lot of attention right now. It's not often that a player puts up his kind of production on both sides of the ball.
There's not much more that needs to be said about Wade. The production in February speaks for itself. He's playing at a career-high level, and that's more than impressive.
If Wade keeps this up, the Heat are going to be next to impossible to stop.
"Middle of the Sun" Scorching Hot: LeBron James
February Per-Game Stats: 30.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.6 steals, 68.8 FG%, 52.4 3PFG%
If it hadn't been for those pesky Indiana Pacers, LeBron James' streak of 30 points and 60 percent shooting would be at seven games. But hey, who's counting right?
There's not really a word to describe LeBron's level of dominance. His level of "hotness" is out of this world.
Just knowing that no other player in NBA history has ever averaged at least 30 points and 60 percent shooting in six straight games should be impressive enough.
It's clear that LeBron is entering a territory that no other player has ever reached. His levels of efficiency and production are mind-blowing, and he's doing it at such a consistent level that it doesn't impress us as much as it really should.
We'll see how long LeBron can keep his streak alive, but I'm guessing that as long as he scores 30 and shots 60 percent from the floor, the Heat's chances of winning are going to be rather high.
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