The Heat lost to the Grizzlies last night on a buzzer beater from Rudy Gay. Obviously, it was a distressing loss for a team that was supposed to push towards the 70-win barrier. The Grizzlies are a talented young team, but they were 4-9 coming into that game and had lost five in a row. The Heat are the only Eastern Conference team that the Grizzlies have beaten to this point.
Yes, the Heat played without Dwyane Wade, but they were in a position to win.
As many have pointed out, the Heat are not good beyond their "Big Three," and they're even more vulnerable when they become a "Big Two." Having put all their eggs in a few superstars' baskets, the Heat have not built the kind of teams Orlando and Boston have built, with strengths at every position and deep benches. Miami's superstars have to play like superstars if they are going to win.
In fact, the Heat got contributions last night from players other than LeBron or Bosh. Ilgauskas had 10 rebounds, and House was 6 of 9 from three-point range. It should have been enough.
LeBron, on the surface, had a LeBron game with 29 points and 11 assists. What's there to complain about? Well, for one thing, LeBron gave up two putbacks to Rudy Gay, including one monster slam in the second half that really hurt.
The announcers never seem to point out when the player knocking in a putback was LeBron's assignment, but watch the tape. On the Gay rebound-dunk, LeBron just simply lost his man. In fact, he wasn't even looking for him; he was just ball watching, and Gay ran right past him for his slam. LeBron has to be better than that. The Heat lost by one; take away either Gay putback, and they win the game.
Secondly, what I don't hear anyone talking about this season is how poorly LeBron is shooting. It should be of as much concern as Bosh's poor play, but there seems to be as much of a "hands off" attitude from commentators about LeBron's weaknesses, as there is from refs about LeBron's complaints about calls.
LeBron's never been a great shooter, but he's fantastic getting to the rim and finishing, or getting to the free throw line. If he just makes SOME perimeter shots, he's ahead of the game. But this season he has been terrible. His three-point percentage is lower than ever, and he even misses most of his 17-footers, or 10-footers for that matter. It's time for drastic action. LeBron needs a shot doctor to reconstruct his shot, because as of now, it's crippling him.
The Heat could have won had LeBron boxed out or made one or two more jump shots, but the main reason the Heat lost was because Zach Randolph simply ate Chris Bosh alive on the boards in the second half. It was embarrassing.
Time and time again a shot went up, and Randolph won the battle against Bosh, finishing with putbacks or just keeping the ball alive. In my experience, there are two things that are just brutal to the team effort. One is excessive turnovers, and the other is an inability to secure the ball after you've played defense and gotten the other team to miss the shot.
I don't know what Bosh has to say about that game, but if it were me, I'd find it difficult to show my face. Randolph owned him.
So the Heat didn't lose because Wade didn't play, and they didn't lose because their supporting cast isn't good enough. The Heat lost because the superstars they had on the court didn't get it done. They've got problems, and they start with their big name players.