The Miami Heat hadn’t been playing well all night, allowing a Boston Celtics team, considered to be one of the worst in the conference, to stay alive in a game that should have been a blowout. The game had its fair share of lead changes, but ultimately came down to a last second three pointer from Jeff Green over LeBron James in the corner. Dwyane Wade had an opportunity to ice the game by making both his free throws, but missed the first, then purposefully tried to miss the second off the rim. This resulted in a violation and gave the Celtics the ball with one second left and just a half court distance to shoot it, and you know the rest.
This was one of the worst defensive performances by the Heat all season, and it showed in the 100+ points both teams ended with at the buzzer. The Heat allowed the Celtics to pull down 11 offensive rebounds. Considering the Heat only managed to pull down four, this is a sign of complacency and lack of focus. The Celtics also shot 52 percent from the field and 48 percent from beyond the arc, which is a major reason they were able to pull out the victory.
No team has shot that high of a percentage from beyond the arc this season against the Heat, which is a sign that the Heat players weren’t closing out their man on the rotation. Is this due to weariness, or just plain laziness? Because the season just started, you cannot attribute weariness just yet. This again comes down to a lack of focus and complacency amongst the players on this title defending team. There is a reason why so few teams have actually won three straight titles. It takes more focus and concentration than any other title season prior.
The Heat will absolutely have to focus on each and every game like it is do or die for the rest of the season. Having the top seed in the playoffs will be more important than ever this year, especially with teams like the Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets loading up on talent and depth. The Heat’s offense has been so destructive this season, ranking 2nd in assists per game in the league. It has been their careless defense that has led to these three losses so early in the season. As the season progresses, the Heat’s typical championship caliber defense should round into form. Hopefully, they will still have enough time to claim the East’s top seed.