After a second straight road loss to a team that will be watching the playoffs on TV, Miami Heat center Chris Bosh didn’t mince words.
“We suck,” Bosh told the South Florida Sun Sentinel after a 105-95 loss in New Orleans on Saturday night. “We need to turn it around. There’s no passion. There’s nothing.”
LeBron James may not have been as blunt, but he was just as pointed.
“We all need to get on the same page and figure it out,” James said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we have to figure this out. There’s too many excuses. Everything is an excuse. Something goes wrong? An excuse. Lineup change? An excuse. Turn the ball over? An excuse.
“We need to own what we’re going right now and what we’re doing right now isn’t good enough.”
Miami is just 4-7 in its last 11 games and has squandered a golden opportunity to gain ground on the Indiana Pacers for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, as the Pacers have gone 5-6 in that same span.
So instead of making up ground, the Heat have actually dropped a game to a team playing sub-.500 basketball.
Defense seems to be the primary concern. Again, Bosh put the situation in plain language.
“On defense, we can’t stop a nosebleed,” Bosh said.
Miami has a defensive rating of 106.3 points per possession in its last 11 games after posting a 102.8 mark through its first 57 games.
But defense is not the only area that has seen a significant dropoff over the last three weeks. The Heat’s offensive rating in their last 11 games is 104.3 points per 100 possessions, down from 110.6 before March 4. The team rebounding percentage is just 45.5 and they turn the ball over on 16.1 percent of their possessions since March 4; prior to that, those marks were 47.6 and 15.7.
Opponents were shooting 45.5 percent overall and 35.9 percent from 3-point range through Miami’s first 57 games. Since then, those percentages are 47.5 and 38.
So, yes, by every available metric, the defense is playing worse—much worse—over the last three weeks. And the offense is struggling, too.
“Yes, our locker room is frustrated,” coach Erik Spoelstra said after the loss to the Pelicans. “Yes, our locker room is angry. We’re not used to these standards. We did not defend. We did not have that tough, gritty personality.”
After a 3-2 week, Miami is 47-21, three games in back of Indiana in the East and in second place in the conference. The Heat lead the third-place Raptors by nine games and have an 11½-game cushion over Washington in the Southeast Division.
Here is the week that was, including game reviews, some news and notes, injury updates and rookie watch, and player of the week selection, as well as a look ahead to next week’s action (all statistical information from NBA.com/Stats):