The Miami Heat are being crucified this week because, well partially because, head coach Eric Spoelstra told the basketball world that players were "crying" in the locker room after Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls.
The caveat in the latest round of Heat criticism is that grown men don’t cry over basketball games, much less over regular season basketball games. But certainly, if you’re a Heat player, die-hard fan or even an interested observer, you have reason to be dismayed. The Heat have, to date, proven to be stinkers when playing quality competition, especially in crunch time.
When LeBron made "The Decision," I was sure that the Heat had instantly become one of the best basketball teams of my generation. I mean, King James, D-Wade and Chris Bosh on the same team...how could they NOT win? But despite currently having the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, the Heat has simply not been on. In fact, at least in games against quality competition, they've been almost completely off.
So, given the fact that they have grossly under-performed against the other elite teams, shouldn't the Heat players show some remorse? Shouldn’t they be emotional? Don’t they have the right to cry? Well, yeah...uh, I guess they have the right. But grown men don’t cry over basketball games, remember? Teams with considerably less talent than the Miami Heat seem to find a way to dig deep and right their ship when things aren't going well. Good teams show resolve. They don’t cry, and they don’t make excuses.
That said, my eyes cry for the Miami Heat. I’m a Heat fan, though not a fanatical one. Now, please understand that I haven’t and won’t shed a single tear over the Heat because, you guessed it...I’m a grown man. But my eyes cry for an immediate remedy to the Heat's soft, uninspired endings to close competitive games.
My eyes can’t stand to see three of the very best basketball players in the world give up huge lead after huge lead. My eyes grieve when watching the Heat continuously fall short in crunch time. The Heat may not be ready to be crowned kings of the NBA hill, but they shouldn’t be getting pushed around by the other elite teams either.
So, unlike coach Eric Spoelstra, who sort of retracted his "crying" statement, I hold true to mine, because my eyes do cry for the Heat. Theoretically, I can alleviate my "cry" by lowering my expectations of this team. The big question, though, is what do the Heat do to alleviate their cry? My crying eyes are watching.