The Miami Heat held a 22 point lead in the second quarter of last night’s home game against the Utah Jazz. They led by 19 points at halftime and seemingly had everything going in their favor. LeBron James recorded his first triple-double in a Miami uniform, Dwyane Wade dropped in a season high 39 points and Chris Bosh came within one rebound of an impressive double-double.
The Heat lost the game in overtime.
Utah stormed back in the second half, most notably in the final 30 seconds. The Heat still had a 98-90 lead with just a half minute remaining in the fourth quarter, until Paul Millsap continued his career night.
Millsap hit a trifecta of three pointers as well as putting in the final shot to force overtime. He finished with 46 points and Francisco Elson knocked down a pair of free throws with 0.4 seconds left in overtime to give the Jazz an improbable 116-114 comeback victory.
I guess this is where everyone can cue up the Stuart Little quotes, but much to everyone’s chagrin, the sky is not falling in Miami.
Yes, it was a humiliating home loss for the team and its fans. Any time you hold a lead of that stature, only to watch it disappear as your defense allows 84 points in the second half and overtime, it is tough to bear. Especially when you have such high expectations and pressure to put everything together so quickly. But it like I have been saying all along. Forget the whole “Yes. We. Did.”
The motto for this team is “Just. Be. Patient.”
But many people are struggling to remain patient with this team. But when you truly dissect what they have done, it is tough to understand why.
Miami is 5-3 on this young season. Aside from last night’s defeat to a charged up Jazz squad, Miami’s other two losses came on the road at the hands of the Boston Celtics (6-2) and New Orleans Hornets (7-0). With all of the injuries and trying to figure things out, they have played eight games together. Eight games is not enough to judge a team for an entire NBA season. This is going to take time.
This is the NBA. Sure, some teams are better than others, but the truth remains that every team has their weaknesses. The Hornets are not going to go 82-0. Neither are the Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat will get their chemistry issues worked out, and then the message to the rest of the league will be simple.
Just sit back and enjoy the show.
The Lakers are unquestionably the best team in the league, and therefore have the least glaring number of weaknesses. But they can – and will – be beat. They have had lapses against some weaker teams, but have had enough in the end to still pull out a win. They have also been playing together for a few years now. Miami is still in the experimental stages.
Aside from the Lakers, I still feel that the only other team who will be able to compete with Miami in a seven game series come playoff time is the Boston Celtics. And they have a glaring disability when it comes to some of their competition. They are old. Plain and simple. Playing back to back nights has resulted in their only two losses this season. And Rajon Rondo is not going to average over 15 assists per game throughout the entire season.
Miami has two big issues to work on right now. Aside from their lack of chemistry, they need to find a way to keep opposing point guards in check. At least the elite ones. In their three losses, they have been defeated by Rondo, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Each has had at least 14 assists against the Heat in their three losses.
But enough of their early struggles. Give it time and watch it click as the season progresses.
But I’d like to respond to something I read on a rival sports network by a columnist. I’m sure that many of you have either read about or heard about what this columnist was saying. He said that Bosh is far too soft to be playing with “Heat Three Kings” – my moniker, not his – and that James and Wade would be better off without him.
He compared James and Wade to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but said that while those two had Dennis Rodman, Horace Grant and Charles Oakley, Bosh is just not the answer. He said that Miami does not need a big three, but rather a “rebounding and defensive goon.”
I understand – to a far lesser degree – what this columnist is trying to say. So far, Bosh is not working out like anyone had hoped. But again, we have only seen him play eight games with James and Wade and company. It is just far too premature to speculate as to whether or not this can ever work. Nobody truly knows for sure.
The column went on to state that Miami would be better off looking into trading Bosh, but after such a slow start, how could you possibly expect to get fair value in return? While Bosh is a career 20 point – 9 rebound player, he has struggled out of the gate this season, averaging just under 15 points and 6 rebounds. He is also playing around 3.5 minutes less per game this year than throughout his career.
Giving this just one or two more games before looking into a trade partner is absolutely ludicrous. Players struggle at times with new teams and unfamiliar teammates. Amar’e Stoudamire’s numbers are down with the New York Knicks. Should they look into dealing him? Maybe his next column can discuss a Stoudamire for Bosh trade? Would that fix everything?
No, it would not. Only one thing can fix this.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
* Make sure to follow Kelley on Twitter @RobKelley24 for all of the latest news and notes involving the Miami Heat as well as updates from across the rest of the world in sports.