In its last three losses, the Miami Heat has struggled to score in the final possessions of each game. In Boston, Mike Miller missed a three-pointer that would have sent the game to overtime. Against the Bulls, Lebron James missed a three-pointer to tie the game and against the Knicks, James had his layup attempt blocked and sequently missed a three-point attempt on the Heat’s final possession.
When this team first came together, there was much speculation as to which player would take the last shot. With most of the regular season games having been play, it has usually been James with the ball late in the game with a few exceptions.
It’s easy to second guess someone when they make the wrong decision. We take the result, dissect it and state from our cozy soapbox which play should have been called or which pass should have been made.
I’m sure there are many Heat fans that would prefer to see Dwyane Wade taking the final shot. However according to 82games.com, a website that uses statistics to determine game behavior, Lebron James is one of the best in the NBA late in the games. This is all compiled from stats in the 4th quarter with 5 minutes remaining.
Keeping his clutch stats in mind, I find it interesting how the media portrays James’ late game decision making. When James does take the last shot and misses, he is criticized for poor shot selection and being selfish. If he decides to pass to an open teammate, James gets labeled as scared and not big enough for the moment.
While it is true that closing games has been a problem lately for the Heat, the talent on the roster gives no reason to believe that this will become a trend. This team is statistically one of the greatest teams the NBA has seen in a while
Both Lebron James and Dwyane Wade have more than enough experience carrying a team in the postseason and Chris Bosh is an elite scorer in this league. All three of these players are capable of creating their own shot in isolation. In addition, Miami will be spacing the floor with Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem (provided he is healthy) who are both more than capable of converting open looks.
It all comes down to execution. Coach Spoelstra has preached all season long that the cohesion of this team is a process and will take time. Time is beginning to wear thin, but there is simply too much offense on the Heat’s roster for it to continue to struggle late in games. But enough about the struggling, it’s time for a poll!