The Miami Heat looked vastly different against the Detroit Pistons last night than they did a few night ago, when the barely above .500 Pistons beat a Heat squad in Miami, a place where the defending champs are typically dominant. LeBron James was his typical dominant self, but the aggressive contributions early from Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and Chris Andersen helped solidify a lead Miami wouldn’t let go of for the entire game.
In four of their five losses, the Heat trailed in the first quarter and never gained a solid lead. So, it would seem that how the Heat start the first quarter is a big determinant in how they perform for the rest of the game.
Effort has always been an issue for the Heat during the regular season, especially when it comes to rebounding. In their worst loss of the season, a 20-point drubbing at the hands of the Chicago Bulls, the Heat were outrebounded 49-27 on the boards, their worst discrepancy of the season. Again, rebounding directly relates to effort, and when it isn’t there, the Heat’s typically small lineup gets destroyed on the glass.
Heading into Tuesday’s heavyweight matchup with the Indiana Pacers, the Heat will need to come out swinging right from tip-off if they want to have any chance of knocking off the current no. 1 team in the league in their home arena. Because of the size advantage the Pacers have in the frontcourt, the Heat will need every ounce of energy and aggression if they are going to fight both Roy Hibbert and David West off the boards for rebounds.
The Heat typically get up for marquee games like this, so the energy and passion should be there from the defending champs. Hopefully, the rebounding follows suit.