The recent four-game losing streak the Miami Heat finds itself stuck in is indicative of larger problems that plague the team. While the Heat found its rhythm during the middle of the season, the beginning and end have been mired by poor defensive play and losing easily winnable games.
The losing streak has seen the Heat blowing huge leads in the second half and really being off their game when it comes to communication and team play.
Winning those must-win games, and staying cool under pressure are not the biggest problems facing the “Big 3″ in Miami (though they are problems). The biggest problem facing the team isn't the inability to score – we all know LeBron, Wade and Bosh can score points off the dribble and are always fast break threats.
What they do not have is a defense, and they cannot seem to get any boards, on either end of the floor. In many ways, this makes the Heat akin to the Colts of the NBA – a lot of offense and not much else. While they will sell tickets, and certainly win a few games, it takes a complete game to win a championship, particularly when you play in the East.
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The scoring percentages and all around game play of the Heat, when playing against competitive teams in the East – the Knicks, the Magic, and the Bulls – has been pathetic, and that is putting it nicely. They do not have big bodies or a rebounding threat, and attempts to generate steals to get turnovers seem to be non-existent.
It would seem, when looking at the season thus far as a whole, there really isn’t a strategy or style to the Heat's game. Whoever is hot or streaky is the one who shoulders the end-game pressure. But without any defense, and nobody to crash the boards, this is not a good combination for long-term success against solid, playoff-caliber teams.
While they may win basketball games against losing teams, or have the occasional flash of brilliance against a winning team, inconsistency has haunted the Heat throughout the season. When you consider the team is in the Eastern conference, and looking at their level of play against these teams throughout the season, it isn’t much of a stretch to think that if they play the Knicks or Magic in the first round of the playoffs, that their road to the championship will end there.
The holes inherent in the Heat lineup have continued to cause them problems throughout the season, and they have made no moves to get it together. Looks like the heat may have been taken out of Miami, making their hopes for a legitimate run in the post-season look pretty bleak.
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The talent they have cannot carry the team – it is too one-sided. With three scoring threats in James, Bosh and Wade, you have plenty of talent, but no clear leader to orchestrate the game. If they don't have big bodies on defense (and they don't) rather than allowing big scoring runs, they should consider aggressive and fast-paced defensive play whereby they use their speed and finesse to their advantage. They must steal the ball, stop momentum, and find a way to get stops, or at least get some boards.