With the Miami Heat’s last-second loss to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, Miami fell to 1-9 vs. the top five teams in the NBA this season. Miami is now 0-6 vs. Chicago and Boston, the two teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings.
To make matters worse for Miami, the big three; LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh are now a combined 1-18 on potential game-tying or go-ahead baskets in the waning seconds of a game. No wonder LeBron seems to be scared when it comes time to take a shot with the game on the line.
After the game, Coach Erik Spoelstra said two players cried in the locker room after the game. Nothing wrong with crying after a loss, it does show players care. The problem with Miami is that they are already seen as an emotionally fragile team and their coach saying they were crying does nothing to quell that notion.
What exactly is Miami’s problem? For one, they lack a good bench. They have spotty point guard play which often leads to James and Wade running the point. They lack an inside presence. It can be said the most important positions in the NBA are center and point guard. Even though they have perhaps two of the best three players in the league, they sometimes have to play other positions out of necessity.
This the time of year the elite teams start separating themselves from the rest of the pack. Have you seen the Lakers since the All-Star break? The Celtics and Bulls are playing at a high-level as well. The Heat should be doing the same, but they can’t even beat the best teams in the league. Does anyone think they could beat one of the aforementioned teams in a best-of-seven series?
Miami’s model of team-building was one that everyone questioned to begin with. When you pay three players that much money, you have to scrap to fill out the rest of the roster. You end up with over-the-hill players such as Juwan Howard and Zydrunas Ilgauskas playing larger roles than they should. How will Miami fix this?
Miami is stuck with this roster, or one of similar fashion for the foreseeable future because of the money tied up in the three superstars. They have to hope these players put the disappointments of all these close losses behind them and the immense talents of James and Wade carry the team in the playoffs.
Don’t look for that to happen. James’ track record in the postseason is already spotty at best. Boston and Chicago have good, solid teams from top-to-bottom. Derrick Rose should win MVP honors and Chicago has built their team with guys who do different things well and Coach Tom Thibodeau has installed a defensive mindset with this team that is playoff tested.
Dwayne Wade mentioned Sunday in his postgame press conference that the fans and media are getting what they want; Miami losing. The fact that he said that is proof that the expectations have gotten to this team and they are unsure if they can win an NBA Title.