Once again the Miami Heat had a chance at redemption, and once again they let it slip through their fingers. On Thursday night in Chicago, the Heat gave the Bulls the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference when they came up short in overtime and lost 96-86. A ten point OT loss is rare since that period is only five minutes long, but Miami didn’t score a single field goal in the extra period. The team’s only two points in OT came from DWade and LeBron combining to go 2-4 from the free-throw line. All season, games between these two teams have been looked upon as an Eastern Conference Finals preview. The way these teams look right now, the Bulls would win in six.
But this was a close game, right? Why pick the Bulls? For starters, while Derrick Rose did return to the lineup, Chicago would have been better off if B.J. Armstrong decided to come back for one game. Rose has been suffering from groin and ankle injuries, which proved to make him offensively inept. He scored a career low 2 points on 1-13 shooting. The Bulls were able to overcome that performance because they had five players in double figures, including Kyle Korver who had 17 points. Kyle Korver, 17 points? That’s what happens when you let a guy shoot 5-6 from the 3pt line. Chicago was a much more balanced team, even without their star point guard.
The Heat also have plenty of concerns about their own lineup and rotation. Like what exactly is it? Coach Eric Spoelstra has been mixing and matching players in an effort to find some energy, but plenty of times in this game it just looked chaotic. A player like Joel Anthony, who at times looks like a perfect fit when he’s been out there with the starting unit, now looks to be left out totally. Mike Miller, coming back from another injury, still doesn’t look right. And when both Wade and James are out at the same time, the Heat turn into a jump shooting exhibition. In this game, the “Big 3″ were pretty good(71 points combined), but the rest of the team couldn’t do anything. If not for the 10 consecutive points made by Dwyane himself, followed by a late LeBron 3, Miami never would have made it to overtime.
Miami has got to find some answers. Yet, those are not easy to come by. Even the experts don’t have solutions, but they can point to flaws they think can kill Miami’s playoff run. Size has been and continues to be a problem for the Heat. Teams like the Bulls just have too much depth on the front line for Miami to handle. Teams that can shoot the 3 well are a problem as well. Coach Spoe’s bench, which looked to be really good early in the season, now appears completely overmatched when facing another playoff team. To top it off, I think both Bron and DWade are tired. They expend so much energy to keep their team in the game, that at times they just look completely exhausted. So what’s the solution? Rest Bosh, James, and Wade. Not for the rest of the regular season, and not as punishment. Instead just for 3-4 games, then let the play the last couple so they are in rhythm when they enter the postseason. Miami is locked in at #2, they are not going to grow in the next two weeks, so they will need to be a high energy team if they want to go back to the NBA Finals.
About the Author
Written by Sean Eckhardt
Univ of Alabama alumni. Born and raised outside Chicago, IL. Currently live in Florida. Some of my favorite teams include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. My interests outside of sports include music, outdoor activities, and anything with a motor(cars, bikes, boats, etc...).