There is a concept in team sports called ‘championship hangover’ where the title winners take longer than usual to get back to the style that got them to the top of the mountain.
The Miami Heat are now going through that concept when it comes to their defense.
Most of this was expect for Miami as their ‘Big Three’ had busy off seasons along with new additions coming to the team.
LeBron James was coming off winning a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Dwyane Wade was coming off a knee surgery that prevented him from going to London. Chris Bosh was also recovering from an abdominal strain suffered in the playoffs last season while also preparing for his expected shift to the center position.
The additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to the team shifted the rotation for Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra when it came to offense with an unintended consequence on the defensive side and it showed early.
Once the 2012-13 NBA season got underway the lack of defensive urgency from Miami was evident. The team was late on rotations and in transition against opponents. This has been especially true when it comes to defending the three point line.
Nowhere has this been more evident than in Miami’s two losses to the New York Knicks. The first game, which was also the start of the seasons for both teams, had the Knicks blow out the Heat from beyond the arc at Madison Square Garden. The second game at American Airlines Arena was more competitive, but it ended the same way.
The Heat have made adjustments to combat this with moderate success such as reinserting Joel Anthony to the rotation, but a knee injury to Shane Battier has added to the stress.
Knowing the Heat though, it won’t be long until their championship defense is back on display.