What an irritating, completely unacceptable loss. This is a team with not just championship aspirations, but championship expectations. While the Blazers aren’t a bad team by any means, to be outscored in the second half 53-38 by a team that has a nearly nonexistent bench is just not right, and the team should mad about this. If the Golden State Warriors even sniff a chance at winning the next game, the Heat need to spend some time reflecting on just what they’re doing this year. Anyway…
LeBron James: B-plus. This is a decided downgrade for LeBron, since he’s an A to A+ player every day of the week. His taking only 16 shots is a little questionable considering he’s the best player on the court, and his scoring only 15 points is just wrong. Even if he had 10 boards and nine assists, this is the guy who is supposed to set the tone. Even if Chris Bosh is going off, James needs to get his work in too. He’s the Swiss army knife of this team, so it’s either got to be a ton of assists of a big time amount of points. Plus he was bottled up by Wes Matthews of all people on the final possession. That’s just dreadful.
Chris Bosh: A. He led the team in scoring by a good margin, controlled the game while James and Dwyane Wade were on the bench, and played like a superstar. About the only knocks on him were his rebounding, but that’s not his game, and the final possession when he had a guy caught in the air he could have drawn a foul instead of dishing to Mario Chalmers. Rio had the open shot, but really, I’d rather Bosh at the line with a chance to tie than Chalmers shooting a three to win. Offensively it was the Bosh we should all expect to see more of in the coming years, but too many easy buckets at the rim. Chris is finesse, but toughness is needed too.
Dwyane Wade: B-plus, but a generous B+ because I still love him. He shot 6-of-18 from the field, scoring 18 points, and was serviceable elsewhere on the court. Like with LeBron, Wade needs to do more. It’s frustrating to have these guys that are the definition of superstar just seem to take nights off like this, and just let inferior teams back in the game. All of that is on the shoulders of the Big Three. Wade was inefficient on offense and at times slow to rotate and close out on defense. He was fine for the most part, but didn’t live up to his own lofty standards.
Ray Allen: B-minus. Ray had a big three pointer late to give the Heat a lead, but his dreadful defense on Wesley Matthews led to the Blazers tying the game up and then taking the lead. He also had three turnovers in big moments, because whenever Ray is on the floor it’s going to be closing time, and he just can’t make these poor decisions. We all know Allen is in Miami for big shots and offense, but this whole nondefense thing is getting a little old.
Heat Defense: B-minus. Though Miami tied on rebounds and they had double digits in steals and forced turnovers AND held their opponent to only 92 points, they let Nicholas Batum go off to let Portland back in the game and let Wes Matthews have a strong game. There’s an old adage that you shouldn’t let bad teams hang around, and Portland isn’t a bad team. The Heat led by as much as 12 before blowing it in the second half. In the playoffs a 24 point quarter is something to frown at, and sure, this wasn’t a playoff game and it wasn’t against a team they’re going to see in the playoffs, but the score indicated differently and so did the play of the Blazers. The Heat sit at 23-12 because of their defense, and this loss is just another example of inconsistency, lax rotations and just plain poor play down the stretch. LeBron can only do so much, someone (Ray Allen, others) need to put a real effort forward.