After one of the biggest letdowns of their Franchise history, the Miami Heat find themselves down 3-2 heading back to Boston for Game 6. After holding a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat have their backs against the wall, and no real answer looks in sight.
In the social media era of today, we have crowned them after wins, and have torn them down after losses. So I am not going to tear them down but simply give an objective look into what ails the Miami Heat and what, if anything, can be done to fix it.
The most scrutinized player to ever play this game of basketball, LeBron James, is usually the person that gets the blame placed on him when things go wrong in Miami. But for this series, he has been Miami’s most consistent player—averaging 32 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game while defending everyone from Rajon Rondo to Paul Pierce to Kevin Garnett.
Though, LeBron is not without blame. He made a key defensive mistake in Game 2—he passed on a potential game winning shot in Game 4, and scored 2 points in the 4th quarter of Game 5. After playing 45 minutes, and being the offensive and defensive catalyst, he is gassed by the final 2-3 minutes of the game. However, he is the farthest from blame as he has done everything asked of him. With his and his team’s backs against the wall, it will be interesting to see what he has left and how he responds.
The player who seems to have been able to dodge the bullets that have been fired toward the Heat is Dwyane Wade. But I don’t know how much longer that will be possible. After his disastrous Game 3 performance in Indiana, he looked to be playing at the potential we know him to be. However, he has gotten off to plenty of slow starts in this series, putting his team in holes that he can’t always get them out of.
But more dangerous, however, is his effort on defense at times. When he attacks the basket, and doesn’t get a foul call, he walks/jogs back on defense and leaves his team undermanned. At times he seems to be resting on the fact that he has a championship already, and he chooses when to give full effort and when not to. His attitude has gotten worse during the Big three era, and here's hoping he comes out swinging for Game 6.
The biggest issue with the Heat comes from the coach Erik Spoelstra. He has been extremely out-coached in the last few games. His inability to come up with an effective lineup, or draw up a play at the end of the game that has multiple actions and options has hindered the Heat for the past two seasons. But the scarier thing is that he doesn’t seem to motivate the team the way Doc Rivers does the Celtics. Kevin Garnett almost seems willing to die for Doc Rivers, while Spoelstra can’t motivate his team to run back on defense in transition against a slower team.
This may or may not be the end for the Big three as we know it, but if this will be their last game, it will be interesting to see how they go out.