The recent 4-game losing streak the Miami Heat find themselves stuck in, in my opinion, is indicative of larger problems that plague the team. While the Heat found their rhythm during the middle of the season, the beginning and end have been mired by poor defensive play and losing easily winnable games. The recent 4-game 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). And it also seems the biggest problem facing the team is not the ability to score – we all know that 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.
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, that there really isn’t a strategy or style to the Heats game play. Whoever is hot, or is streaky, is who the game rests on the shoulders of. 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 taking into account their being in the Eastern conference, and looking at their level of game 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.
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 you do not have big bodies on defense, rather than allowing 40 point runs, consider aggressive and fast paced defensive play whereby you use your speed and finesse to your advantage, steal the ball, stop the momentum, and find a way to get stops, or at least get some boards.