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There's no denying it: Miami isn't giving maximum effort this regular season.
Having physically exhausted themselves playing 297 games in the past three seasons (playoffs included), the Heat are trying to preserve the energy they have left for another deep postseason run.
The negative effects of Miami's coasting style have shown up on the defensive end, where the Heat have clearly lacked energy and effort.
The Big Three Heat have always been one of the premier defensive teams in the league; however, Miami finds itself outside of the top 10 in defensive efficiency this year (they allow 105.1 points per 100 possessions, which ranks 12th). Opponents are shooting 46.1 percent from the field (23rd in the league) and 37.3 percent from three (27th).
Miami's consistently losing to teams they have no business losing to, with nine losses to teams that have a below-.500 record.
The most recent example: The Heat fell behind by 34 points by the second quarter in their last game to the Washington Wizards. A late surge was not enough for Miami.
After the loss to the Wiz, LeBron told the AP, “They was playing at another speed. They was playing at, like, 15 and we was playing at, like, seven.” That's been a theme this year for Miami.
Still, the Heat are right to coast. Getting to the postseason as energized as possible is hugely important for them. Though, it is going to obviously be difficult for Miami to catch the Indiana Pacers for the top seed in the Eastern Conference if they continue to approach the regular season in this manner.