When the All Star break started about a month ago, the Miami Heat (35-13) were unbeatable and riding a 9 game winning streak where they were blowing teams out by double-digits every single game. Since that break ended, Miami has been playing terribly and has gone 8-6. Whether it be fatigue, injuries, or just lack of effort, the Heat have not played like a championship team.
Miami’s first problem still remains rebounding. Whether it’s because lack of effort or size, the Heat just aren’t rebounding the ball and other teams are getting too many second chance opportunities. Chris Bosh hasn’t had 10 rebounds in a game in all of March and Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony have had to pick up the slack. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade do all they can to get as many rebounds as possible, but they aren’t in the paint the whole game trying to fight for the ball. Miami needs to get rebounds or they won’t win.
The Heat have also been very fatigued and lost concentration since the All-Star break. It is evident by their body language and lack of effort on both sides of the floor, but most visible in their amount of turnovers. When asked about the turnover situation, Dwyane Wade blamed them on carelessness (cough, lack of effort). “We don’t mind attack turnovers,” Wade said. “It’s the careless turnovers that we need to get rid of. The biggest thing is we just don’t need to have them in bunches. We don’t have just one. We have four. And that’s got to stop.” Wade is right, and it needs to stop.
Also, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole have been almost invisible since the break ended. Chalmers is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league, but has been bricking everything as of late. Cole has been shooting terribly too, but the biggest problem is their turnovers. As point guards on a team loaded with talent, their job description is pretty simple, GET THE STARS THE BALL. If the stars don’t get the ball, Miami doesn’t win. If the point guards don’t hold onto the ball, then the stars won’t get it and they’ll lose production from them.
To me personally, Miami’s bench has really been the problem of late, besides Udonis Haslem. Mike Miller has been injured for over 2 weeks and no one knows about his return. So in his place, the Erik Spoelstra put James Jones, who has literally done nothing. Jones goes into the game and doesn’t even shoot anymore. He is on the floor to shoot and he’s not shooting, so he’s not doing his job. Also trying to make up for the lack of the deep ball is Shane Battier. Battier is tough and you get defense and hustle, but he has to knock down his shots. He shot miserably from the floor against the Thunder and just hasn’t been playing well at all as of late. The biggest surprise has to be Ronny Turiaf, who the Heat picked up last week as a free-agent. He has been a machine since he has arrived in Miami. TUriaf rebounds, knocks down shots, and hustles. His presence has turn out to be very important on a tired Miami Heat team because he missed the first part of the season and is still very fresh.
Overall, Miami has just been sloppy as of late. Two losses in a row by an average of 15.5 points, no rebounding, and no effort really tell the whole story. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James need to change the atmosphere of the locker room and stress that every game is important. The playoffs are right around the corner and Miami doesn’t looked ready, we will see how they bounce back when they play Dallas on Thursday.
What do you think the Heat’s biggest problem is right now?