Miami Heat Makes and Misses: Third quarter struggles and more

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 17: Dion Waiters /
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This week’s Makes and Misses digs into the Miami Heat’s third quarter struggles, James Johnson’s mini-resurgence and more.

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 17: Dion Waiters /

The Miami Heat are a team still searching for their identity, as a lackluster week raised more questions than answers.

Going 1-3, the week was bookended with a loss against the Detroit Pistons, and the team’s ugliest loss of the year, a 25-point drubbing at the hands of the Indiana Pacers. The lone win came in Washington, after dropping the front end of the home-and-home with the Wizards.

Looking at the makes and misses this week, there are few positives for the Heat. However, there are some, particularly when it comes to a few important pieces rounding into shape. The negatives begin largely with the third quarter, where the Heat were -21 over four games. Save for a rare offensive misstep from the Wizards that allowed the Heat back in the game, the number could’ve been worse.

The Heat’s offense coming back out of the locker room is one of the most confusing trends in the sport. There is no reason why a team with the high emphasis on execution should immediately surrender a big run to start the third quarter, often offering up their most perplexing offensive looks of the entire game (more on that later). From there, the defense deteriorates and the game is out of reach.

After the debacle to the Pacers, head coach Erik Spoelstra finally revealed a little of the intensity and frustration he’s surely been holding back in a short, aggressive press conference.

"“We’ll find a solution,”he snapped. “We’ll find a way to play Miami Heat basketball one way or another.”"

This sentiment was felt by all fans after watching a Pacers team content to land in the lottery, look like Eastern Conference frontrunners. The Heat put up zero fight and get rewarded by a visit from the real kings of the conference, the 15-2 Boston Celtics. Then, they’ll embark on another multi-game road trip.

Sitting at 7-9, the Heat are in deep trouble if low effort becomes a pattern as they move into a difficult part of their schedule.