The talk of South Florida today is the Heat’s continued collapse, especially against good teams. Yesterday’s 1-point loss to the Chicago Bulls throws salt on an already festering wound.
But, fear not, Heat faithful. All is not lost.
Yes, these close losses to good teams is getting old, fast. Yes, blowing leads has already gotten old. Yes, LeBron James’ inability to hit the big shot is disturbing (is it me, or is James scared to get fouled on those big shots? He had Joakim Noah beat on the drive but instead chooses to loft a weak running shot with his left hand that totally missed the rim, instead of going straight at the basket and drawing the foul. Perhaps he still has images of Amare Stoudamire from last week in his head).
They say sports is 90% mental. Seeing the Heat play the past week, I believe it. Aside from the usual “they need a point guard and center” talk, here’s one thing the Heat can do to greatly improve their odds late in the game:
- Give the ball to Dwyane Wade and let him decide it. He’s proven over the years to be the Heat’s dependable guy down the stretch and with the big shots (if you don’t believe me, watch the tape of the 2006 NBA Finals). Wade doesn’t mind getting inside and drawing the fouls. He’s quicker than LeBron and a better passer. Why Erik Spoelstra continues to give the ball to LeBron at the end of games mystifies me. It’s not that LeBron isn’t capable of hitting the big shot, but on this team, he’s only the second-best clutch player.
It should be noted that it’s better for the Heat to be going through this funk now and not in late April when playoff time comes. It’s also good that they have a tough stretch of games right now in which they can get things straight. I don’t know about you, but if I were the Bulls, Magic, or even the Celtics, I would not want to face this Heat team with its confidence back and all cylinders clicking as was the case back in December and January. It would serve those franchises and its fans well to be weary of the talent on this Heat team, which after overcome adversity and growing tougher mentally (remember that 90%), it finds it’s confidence. It would also serve fellow Heat fans well to remember this.
Are they going to win it all this year, Jorge asks? I’ll weasel out and say I really don’t know. I do know, however, that they still very much CAN. That’s good enough for me right now.
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