It is infuriating.
"I had to stop watching basketball," the Miami Heat center said after Tuesday's 107-97 home loss to the Detroit Pistons. "I can't even watch basketball. 'Oh, really, you're playing like that? Golly!' It's crazy. Seriously, you watch games—it's like it's totally different teams. That's why I don't like watching NBA anymore. I just watch us. It's like, you watch the big prime-time games; but you watch another game, you'll get in your head what this team is, and they'll be something totally different tomorrow."
Bosh isn't the only Heat player to take note of opponents elevating their games against Miami. Dwyane Wade has mentioned it often, and LeBron James did again Tuesday. They knew it was coming—it was a question posed to them at their first shared media-day press conference in the fall of 2010.
But clearly it's left them weary over time.
"Yeah," Bosh said. "This is our fourth year. You see guys out there, you're like, come on. This is another game for us, this is another step for us to get where we're going, this is everybody's Super Bowl. You know, that's no excuse; it's just what we have to be up against, especially being up against ourselves, it is difficult. But this is what we signed up for."
Last season, James rattled off a list of players who had turned in career-high performances in some category against the Heat (such as John Henson's rebounds) or done something against Miami that they never do against anyone else (like Paul Millsap's string of late-game three-pointers).
Heat fans have even coined a Twitter hashtag for the come-from-nowhere superstar:
(Short for #RandomScrubHeatKiller)
This season, Miami has four losses, to four teams—the 76ers, Nets, Celtics and Pistons—that are a combined 24-47 against everyone else. Some of that is the Heat's fault. They got off to terrible starts against Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Detroit, and were not engaged defensively for too long against Boston.
But there's no question that some strange things have happened.
While it's not fair to call the Nets' rather accomplished starters "scrubs," the reality is that they've rarely been healthy since Brooklyn beat Miami on Nov. 1, and Paul Pierce hasn't played as well as he did that night.
Spencer Hawes, of all people, scored 24 against the Heat in the 76ers' win, to say nothing of Michael Carter-Williams, in his first NBA game, recording 22 points, 12 assists and nine steals.
The Celtics shot 51.7 percent against the Heat, their best mark of the season so far, and Jeff Green capped the effort with a fall-away, buzzer-beating three-pointer.
And the Pistons?
Nothing was that out of the ordinary, though Kyle Singler did post his second-best scoring effort of the season, with a team-high 18 points off the bench. And the Heat stayed engaged throughout, which has been a struggle for them against some weaker opponents.
Bosh understands. When he was a Toronto Raptor, he and his teammates were more energized for the spotlight games.
It's just that, now, he's on the other side.
"Every once in a while, you're reminded of how much of a grind it really is," Bosh said. "We get a team's best every night. People don't really understand what that means, the effort that we have to put into the game. If we're a step off, we pay. It's something that we deal with. We never complain about it; we just do what we have to do."
Which includes changing the channel.
Ethan Skolnick covers the Heat for Bleacher Report.
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