This latest Miami Heat loss could sting a little. Carrying a five-point lead into the fourth quarter, the defending champs were out scored by the Indiana Pacers 21-16, ultimately losing a close game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Arena. Both teams performed poorly as a whole, but what set these teams apart down the stretch was how they performed as a whole, and the Heat failed miserably.
Outside of another glorious night from LeBron James (38 points, six rebounds, five assists), the rest of the supporting cast was completely atrocious, especially with only two starters even reaching double figures. Dwyane Wade (one of the two starters who hit the double figure mark) had an abysmal night returning from two games of rest, scoring just 15 points on 6-11 shooting from the field. Chris Bosh was also a HUGE non-factor, scoring just eight points and grabbing four rebounds. For all the extra incentive of moving back to the position he is most comfortable playing in, Bosh sure seemed to struggle at the power forward tonight. The lack of production from both Wade and Bosh collectively is the main reason the Heat couldn’t hold to their slim lead, and ultimately lost the game by one point.
James had to once again carry the Heat on his shoulders offensively, nearly scoring half of the Heats’ total points. Without any offensive production from the rest of the starters, especially Wade and Bosh, the Heat didn’t stand a chance in this game. If this lack of production continues, the Heat might not even make it out of the playoffs in their own conference. It really goes to show you how one player can’t carry a team, especially against one that is as defensively sound as the Pacers are.
This game had a playoff like feel to it, and the implications of this loss for the Heat might not be felt until the playoffs, when they are staring at a Game 7 against the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, without home court advantage helping them this time.