NBA Indiana PacersMiami Heat

The Miami Heat Have as Many Liabilities as Assets

If The Miami Heat had lost to the Indiana Pacers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals -no matter the final tally-, in the words of Kevin Hart “It was about to go down.”

All three levels of the Miami Heat would receive criticism, and rightfully so, for the problems that have surfaced this season. The front office, including head honcho Pat Riley, deserves blame, so too does the coaching staff and the players.

The speculation surrounding the Heat has been unending. Many have suggested that if the highly polarized team would break apart the big three if another season ended in disappointment. The ramifications of a loss would have been far and wide.

Maybe the Heat’s troubles have just been delayed. Roy Hibbert may not disapear again in game 5.

LeBron James may not be able to dominate every facet of the game again. James finished with 40 points and 18 rebounds. He kept the Heat in the game early, with 17 first half points, then did it all in the second. James got Dwyane Wade into the game. Wade responded with a 30 point performance.

At one point, Wade and James combined for 36 consecutive points. The third quarter was quite a show by two of the game’s elite.

If those two do not perform at the same level and close out the series, the Heat are in the same boat.

Pat Riley is one of the biggest contributor to Miami’s troubles. Riley has failed to acquire the depth necessary around the big 3 to win a title in the case of an injury. The supporting cast includes a band of has-been or never-was players who are one dimensional in their ability to affect the game.

Riley’s big signing in this past off-season was Shane Battier. Battier is an aging defensive stalwart who began losing the consistency in finding the range on his three-point shot during his time in Houston. Battier is a great glue guy. But he is not a player that you want to depend on for scoring.

The front office had the opportunity to sign Samuel Dalembert with the Veteran Mid-Level Exception instead of Battier. The Heat organization valued Battier’s ability to spread the floor more than Dalembert’s ability on the inside. I guess it was a matter of opinion for a team that has many needs.

Obviously, I have the gift of hindsight. But a decision maker deserves blame when his decisions go awry. The Heat do not have a Championship-level supporting cast. The signings of Mike Miller and the resigning of Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem have proved ineffective.

The front office has work to do.

Head coach, Eric Spolestra is also under a microscope. His in-game adjustment ability has been questioned since game 4 of last year’s NBA Finals. There has been visual strife between the embattled head coach and his second best star, Wade.

It remains to be seen if Spoelstra can become a great coach. But what we know is that some growth and development is still necessary if the Heat want to realize their immense potential. Spoelstra needs to make championship level adjustments without Bosh. Miami cannot out talent anyone without Bosh.

Wade also needs to shoulder some of the blame. He has been seen verbally spatting with his coach. He has been seen pouting on the court and has been seen with a lack of effort getting back on defense. Wade has always been a model citizen. He has been the standard of professionalism. He is a champion. Wade knows that yelling at a coach is not a part of championship level chemistry. All are antithetical to what we know of Wade’s nine year NBA career.

Five points is not good enough in Game 3, especially without Bosh. He responded today. Without Wade showing up, the Heat lose today.

He cannot check out again. His team needs him.

Finally, LeBron James deserves some blame. He certainly has not been the biggest reason that his team has struggled. But he needs to continue to play the way that he did in today’s contest.

Obviously, that stat line is not consistently repeatable though he can consistently be a force on the court in several different ways.

The Heat have as many liabilities as any great team ever. However, they have shown that in stretches, the team is unstoppable. They have the best two players on the floor. That is usually a remedy for success.

If the Miami Heat play to their best, even without Bosh, they will win this series.

But, if if was a fifth we would all be drunk.

The carousel of blame has enough spins to encompass all of the major figures associated with the Miami Heat.

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