Miami Heat Confidence Meter: 4.5 (All the Faults showed up)
• The drive and kick game was wide open. They could not hit open three point shots. Chris Bosh made his return, and had a positive impact on the game, yet his coach failed the team in what could have been a series saving win. More on that later. The defensive gameplan was solid, but the offensive execution lacked a little “something”. That something was sharp screens when the Celtic defense was failing at the point of attack. Yet, Joel Anthony, the teams best screen setter failed to log a single minute. The kneejerk reaction is to blame effort, but the effort was there. The defensive rotations were solid, and the rebounding was solid. Udonis Haslem logged appropriate minutes, and did his work on the boards. Rajon Rondo was on lock down due to the successful gameplan of game 1, and the second half of game 4. More on that later. There was not a single complaint to be had due to the defensive disposition of the team. Yet they lost.
• Here is why they lost. For an entire season, it has been a mix and match effort for complimentary players to aid the “big three” on the offensive end. This helter skelter attempt at lineup continuity might have proven fatal. Due to injuries to Mike Miller, or uneven attempts at getting James Jones integrated, the Heat never had a rotation that was familiar this year. The only complimentary players that got consistent minutes were Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers. Chalmers is a starter, so that is a give in. Haslem while being a steady member of the rotation, found himself with spotty minutes throughout the playoffs. Battier was played excessively in certain spots (especially in the Pacer series) due to his commitment on the defensive end, and intelligence in organizing the Heat’s defensive effort. His inefficient shooting, no matter the timely nature of big shots he may deliver has been a detriment. I made the observation that he needed to shoot at least 40 percent on threes to justify his long minutes, and then shoot his averages from the floor for him to then justify his spot in the rotation. Very similar to what James Posey gave the 05-06 team. He didn’t. His attempt to cut down his attempts to the very best and most efficient is to be lauded, but does not space the floor, and in effect removes an aspect to the offense. As a rule, if Battier is efficient, but on very low attempts, that is a concerted effort to mask his inefficiency and does not serve a purpose. MORE attempts would actually help in the flow of the game. In the end, the collection of spot up shooters on this team failed them.
• Coach Erik Spoelstra is a bright and considerable talent as an NBA coach. This team however, and most notably their stars, do not respect him, and the evidence comes from the failure of those stars to execute the very simple and rudimentary bench marks he sets for them on their offensive sets. The chief culprit and the most notable culprit is Dwyane Wade. You have to understand NBA offense and then re-watch games to understand what is truly going on. It is where Coach Spo’s mantra of “trust” comes in. Dwyane Wade regularly breaks off plays and then massages games to pace his game throughout, even in the Eastern Conference Finals , which makes this ridiculous. He basically hired his coach, and his play is what will ultimately fire him if this series ends like I think it will. This sounds like an alibi for Spoelstra, but it isn’t. His built in cuteness to the rotation might have proven fatal. He coaches like Wade plays. Paced, and experimental, and in the end, it is on him. “The rotation is the rotation” is as dumb a comment as he can make when there is NO rotation. It is experimentation throughout. Chris Bosh is effective, he limits him in the second half of a game for a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. Joel Anthony serves a purpose that is obvious, and he sits on a DNP in a pivotal game 5. It is a shame.
• Wasted talent is a shame. This team has been a disappointment. That the Head Coach contributes to it is a bigger shame, and one that will likely find him fired. It is not merely enough to blame an injury to Chris Bosh for this failure. To borrow a “Spoism”, they have “enough”. They had enough to beat this Celtics team, and now they are facing elimination in a place where the Home team gets games out right rigged for them. That the Heat do not get the benefit of calls is a problem and one that is a handicap, but a handicap that they SHOULD overcome. If this recap sounds like a eulogy, it’s because it is. Even if the Heat come back to win the last two games, this team has been a disappointment due to the self inflicted damage that they do to themselves on a regular basis. I have watched too much basketball in my years to merely just blame a coach for this failure. This team has “enough” to overcome the quirks of a coach, hell bent on experimenting throughout a season. In the end, ARROGANCE was this team’s deadliest sin. This team never had the focus necessary to push through and win a championship, like they should have. The focus was best in year one and never improved. I blame the Captain Dwyane Wade and Erik Spoelstra in that order. It is on them.
• If it sounds like I am saying that the end of the season is a foregone conclusion in game 6, it is because I have no faith that this team can find it within itself, the resolve to see a gameplan through and make smart decisions that are needed to win a playoff game. Something happened to Dwyane Wade from the time that he had with Shaquille O’Neal to now that has him in a “preservation” mode instead of actually playing basketball for the minutes he is allotted. His “pacing” as a HABIT is a problem for a guy that is in the prime of his career. In short, he does not play hard for his entire allotted run in a game. It is a fact if you watch games with a critical eye. Can they win Game 6? Sure. But why are they in this predicament? Wasted talent is a shame, and the coach in the end gets the blame. Again, what a shame. What a disappointment this team is. They have disgraced this city, themselves, and the men that put this together in Pat Riley and Micky Arison. Notice how I didn’t mention LeBron James in this entire recap? Well, he is a constant. This recap is about disappointment. The best player in the world brings it on every night. FACT. I wish his ROBIN would as well. Shame. Just a Shame. Waste of talent always is.
The Heat is in Boston for Game 6 on Thursday night. Tipoff is at 8:30pm.