|Written by Michael Patrick|
Bet on the NBAWhen three of your five starters are arguably three of the top twelve players in the Eastern Conference, you shouldn't expect much sympathy from fans when you can't win the big game.
When fans are paying top dollar to get into the stadium, and you can't find out a way to pull out a victory at home against a conference rival, they have every right to boo, even if your name is Lebron James. In fact, especially if your name is Lebron James.
This was the scene on Thursday night in Miami. Taking a 24-point lead into the second half of the game with rival Orlando, Miami proceeded to blow the lead and suffer a home loss 99-96. The Magic's 40-9 fourth quarter was something to see, if you are a Magic fan. The implosion of the Heat, for a Magic fan, must have been a thing of beauty, and the last second effort that was thwarted by the Magic was indicative of where the Heat are at this point in the season. Not playing through all the options designed by head coach Eric Spoelstra and impatiently firing the first available shot (taken by Chris Bosh), points toward why this team will not be ready to contend this season in spite of all the hype.
Don't think I am being hasty in my judgment. This has become a trend with the Heat, especially recently.
On Sunday, the Heat led The Knicks by as many as 15 points and by 6 points with less than 3 minutes to play, but Chauncey Billups and the inspired Knicks battled back and wound up on top. Heat opponents have found a major weakness with the Heat. It is in fact better to have James and Wade on the floor at the same time because neither of them have been able to shoot a mid-range jumper or the three.
Opponents are simply packing the lane and keeping them from slashing; thus, keeping them from being as effective as their ability should dictate. One thing is for sure, if this problem is not solved and the Heat do not find a way to step outside their comfort zone and grow, then this season will be a bust. The Heat may not even get to the Eastern Conference Championship.