Do not let the Miami Heat’s victory over the Boston Celtics be fool’s gold. It was a struggle of a win against a weak, undermanned team with a hardly healed Rajon Rondo. Yet the champs still blew an early 18-point lead and went down by two before going up seven at the night’s final buzzer.
It was another case of the Heat being out-hustled by an underdog because they couldn’t keep up their energy while battling makeshift forwards and centers. That’s clearly the type of play that people consider uninspired and the type of play that LeBron James tried to explain pregame without completely tossing Dwyane Wade’s faulty knees under the bus as he told ESPN:
“I can say from a rhythm standpoint, it’s kind of hurt us. And we’re a team that’s built on rhythm, built on chemistry, and we’ve had so many lineup changes, so many different guys in and out with injuries that it’s kind of hurt our performance.”
The truth is saving Wade is hurting the Heat in more ways than just the standings. It’s burning out James, who has referenced being tired and appreciative just to get a blow on the bench for a few minutes — although he hates coming off the court.
But at some point coach Erik Spoelstra needs to revise his LeBron maintenance plan because pushing him to exhaustion while the club babies his aging No. 2 isn’t really the greatest endorsement for coming back to Miami after his impending free agency — unless an NBA title is the outcome.