Following back-to-back losses in New York, the Miami Heat have four days off until its next game and, boy, do they need it. Miami looked especially weary at the end of its loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
LeBron James, who fouled out before the end of regulation, needed some scoring help. However, Dwyane Wade was out to rest his battered knees, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier were out with their own injuries, 38-year-old Ray Allen couldn’t jump off a trampoline and Chris Bosh’s face is still painted on the side of a milk carton.
James, who has played more basketball than anyone in the NBA the past three, Finals-ending seasons, is getting tired. He told Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that James is physically and mentally tired.
“We’ve played a lot of basketball in our four years together. It’s taken a lot of wear and tear on all our bodies. It’s mentally fatiguing. And you just try to find the motivation the best way you can as an individual and as a collective group.”
James played 49 minutes, per NBA.com, before fouling out. Is it time for the Heat to start resting James more?
According to Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel, it isn’t that easy.
LeBron wants to play every game, doesn’t want to come off the court, and there’s no way Erik Spoelstra would have been able to take him out of the game until he fouled out. But it sure felt like LeBron was back in Cleveland by the finish Friday, with Ray Allen and Michael Beasley unable to make shots. You could sense the frustration in LeBron’s eyes afterward, and for more than the flagrant foul and flops he was subjected to. There might be something to sitting LeBron the next time Dwyane Wade sits. Otherwise, it becomes the type of burden LeBron was forced to endure in Brooklyn.
The Heat are not just physically tired, they are also mentally exhausted. It doesn’t help that it may be hard to find motivation in a weak Eastern Conference in which they are comfortable maintaining position for the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Heat are having issues getting up for certain games.
“Miami is playing just average basketball, despite the team’s overall strong record, and the Heat are having moderate motivation issues,” Windhorst wrote.
The normal disclaimer when reacting to Heat losses is “It’s only [fill in month here].”
That is exactly the issue.
The Heat are injured and tired, and it isn’t even the All-Star break yet. Miami’s goal is to go into the playoffs healthy and much of the focus has been on Wade. It might be time to focus a little more on James too.