Miami Heat are finding comfort in their bad habits

Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat looks on prior to the game against the New York Knicks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat looks on prior to the game against the New York Knicks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

They have been overlooked, but the Miami Heat have a myriad of problems to work through. Will they be able to correct them or will they capsize?

First,  the 18-point loss was a trap game, then the 20-point loss was the fatigue of a back-to-back. Win or lose, at some point the excuses have to stop for the Miami Heat apologists.

Of course, this season has been a treat. A surprise even, with Miami steadily hovering among the top 4 seeds in the association. However, dropping games to severely undermanned teams and fringe playoff hopefuls is reminiscent of the Heat teams that barely missed the postseason over the past few years.

Some would contend that those thoughts are an overreaction to the team’s first real lull of losses in two of the last three matchups. But if they are being honest, the Heat have been playing bad for a while.

Not bad in terms of their record (25-10), but bad when it comes to the habits they have been developing—starting with so many unforced errors that their games often look like terrible tennis matches.

For some perspective, the Heat are 29th out of 30 teams in turnovers, with an average of 16.6 per game. That is only 0.5 fewer turnovers than the 7-28 Atlanta Hawks.

The Miami Heat’s other issue on that side of the ball comes in the form of stagnation, and not just in the last two contests, shooting at a clip near the 41 and 38 percentages from the field and a combined 26 percentage from three.

At least two times a game, the Heat go on a run of not moving the ball and looking nervous to shoot. This seems like a prime spot for a player like Dion Waiters, who could get his own shot. Too bad he sabotaged himself out of consideration for even the back end of the rotation.

The final recurring issue requires onlookers to evoke the eye test over numbers.

In the words of coach Erik Spoelstra, the Heat have had sporadic play defensively for the last two or three weeks.

The biggest misconception about Miami’s 2/3 zone is that it has been some genius move. Do not be fooled though.

Implementing the college-style defense is not just a simple switch up. The change was made because the team has not been able to guard anyone one-on-one, man to man.

So, they resort to what seems like zone for the majority of games.

On paper the numbers look good, yet that does not account for when teams like the Orlando Magic drop the ball into the center of the zone and attack or kick out for uncontested threes—whether they fall or not.

The simple notion of opposing teams taking as many threes does one of two things. The percentages will either work in their favor, meaning the shots will eventually start to fall or if they do not, the defense will still have to think about and account for them.

This accountability manifests itself in defenders running out at shooters, thus leaving the paint even more wide open. These factual notions all lead to one consummating thought.

The zone has become nothing more than a mask for a little problem that is likely to become a bigger one.

Heat couldn’t pull rabbit out of their hat against Orlando Magic. dark. Next

Fans can continue to find ease in excuses, but if the Heat do not find a way to fix their habits, they will fall into another season of embarrassing losses.