As the NBA season winds down and the playoffs come into focus, pundits tend to say that now is the time when teams begin to lock in for the long haul. However, Wednesday night was yet another note written in the Miami Heat book of “buts.”
Udonis Haslem had a breakout game where he went 7-for-8 with 14 points, but Chris Bosh had a 3-for-11 stinker. The starting lineup looked like a flashback to 2008 — with Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Haslem and Michael Beasley — but LeBron James sat out. They moved the ball pretty well, but they played no defense. And that “but” is the main one.
“It’s not troubling, it’s just upsetting,” Bosh said postgame, shifting his focus to defensive lapses. “Every team we’re playing is shooting 50 percent, every single night. If we think we’re going to win a championship doing that, we’re kidding ourselves.” (ESPN)
This is where the issue lies. The Heat have been spending their time trying to outscore teams instead of getting stops. Or as the television microphones have caught coach Erik Spoelstra saying, “let the offense create defense.”
And when that backwards thinking doesn’t work and their scoring begins to drop every quarter, like it did in Boston, the Heatles play prey to teams that would rather tank than win games.
Unfortunately for them, every night does not bring key blocks to pull games out like they did in Cleveland. Most end with them blowing double-digit leads and giving up open threes (six for Avery Bradley).
If Miami continues to pretend that they have no problems, the next “but” they will hear is that they made the playoffs, but they’ll have to watch the NBA Finals from home.