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Posted By Sean Eckhardt On Dec 21 2010 @ 3:55 pm In Miami Heat | No Comments

     Two streaks collided Monday night and only one survived.  The Miami Heat had won 12 straight games entering last night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.  The Mavs on the other hand, had won 13 straight regular season games versus the Heat.  Better make that 14 straight.  It would appear the only time Miami can beat Dallas is in the NBA Finals.  Of course, those games count too.  The final score of the game was 98-96 Mavericks, but it didn’t really seem that close.  Dallas is one of the elite teams in the NBA right now, while Miami is still trying to put it all together.  The Heat are good right now.  If they want to be great, here are some things that were exposed last night which they will need to address.

     1)  Slow starts – Miami has had this problem in several games this year.  Last night they let Dallas get out to a 14-2 lead in the first quarter.  While Wade was able to lead the team back, getting off to slow starts can cost you games.  The team expends so much energy trying to get back in the game, sometimes they never can close it out and win the game.

     2)  Taking too many outside shots – The Heat have two of the best players in the NBA in Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.  Both are at their best when driving to the basket, but sometimes Miami settles for jump shots and 3 pointers.  Against Dallas Miami took 31 shots from beyond the arc.  That is way too many.  Taking shots from the perimeter creates a few problems.  Generally, the FG% is lower, players create fewer opportunities for their teammates and the rebounds on longer shots tend to be longer.  So even if you’re in good position, many times the rebound goes right over you.

     3)  Staying focused on defense – An NBA game is 48 minutes long.  Teams cannot expect be successful playing 30 or 35 minutes of defense.  The Heat are prone to lapses in defense all season and it happened again against the Mavs.  In addition to starting slowly, they were torched for 19 points in the fourth quarter by Jason Terry.  Miami’s defense against the 3 pointer was inconsistent.  They held Dirk to 0-4 shooting from downtown, but the rest of the Mavs shot almost 50 percent.

     Miami is only 30 games into this season, so there is no reason to panic.  The Heat can beat the majority of teams in the NBA without a problem.  The upper echelon teams, are still better than Miami for now.  Dallas, Boston, San Antonio and the Lakers are all teams that the Heat would not beat in a best-of-7 series.  The good news is that it will be several months before the NBA playoffs.  That’s plenty of time to put it all together.

CPR 12-22-2010

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