HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Now has to be the appropriate time to yell “FIRE!”
What else are we supposed to make of what’s going on with the Miami Heat?
A 16-point home loss to the Indiana Pacers certainly wasn’t expected. Yet on Monday night that’s exactly what we saw. A lethargic Heat team with all three of members of its Big 3 on the floor (though Dwyane Wade clearly was not his usual self), trying to grind through a game and falling woefully short against what was supposed to be an inferior foe.
For weeks now Heat fans and others have been arguing that we haven’t had a large enough sample size to make a proper evaluation of this team. Well, how much more do we need before someone hits the Code Red button?
Early on it was teams with great point guards that exposed the Heat. Now everyone is taking pot-shots at Erik Spoelstra‘s crew, which has been beset with injuries to after its two main role players — Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem — were in suits much better looking than Don King‘s Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“I told them I’m not going to feel sorry for them,” Spoelstra told reporters after the home meltdown. “I’m not going to feel sorry for myself. We need to look at ourselves individually, get to work and get better. We need to dig ourselves back. Trust each other. Trust the system. (Monday) was nothing I recognized.”
LeBron James cited a lack of “fun” and “swagger” in the Heat, while Chris Bosh insists that getting “angry” about what’s going on won’t fix the problem.
Heat fans at the game suggested a remedy of their own. There were “We Want Riley” chants heard inside of the arena from midway through the third quarter on, noise that had to make Heat boss Pat Riley cringe.
With an 8-6 record and back-to-back losses to lottery teams in the past three days, the calls for change are only going to intensify. And no, adding Erick Dampier to the mix to replace the physical presence of Haslem (who is out indefinitely with a torn ligament in his left foot that will require surgery), won’t fix the problem.
Speaking of problems, the Heat are hardly alone in that department. The top three teams in Southeast Division all got punched in the face Monday night as the Magic and Hawks took punches from contenders, too:
The Hawks are in a danger zone as well, having dropped their fifth home game of the season in wicked fashion to a Celtics team that didn’t have Rajon Rondo in uniform.
Unlike the Magic, who battled but could not hold off a fantastic Spurs team, the Hawks didn’t even swing back. The Celtics swarmed them early and didn’t let up until the final minutes of a game that was even uglier than the lopsided 99-76 final score might suggest.
“This was very embarrassing, very, very embarrassing,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “If I had to sum it up in one word, embarrassing…to come out and play with that type of energy, that type of urgency. I addressed the team right after the game, and what I see with our team right now, I don’t feel real good about … I am disappointed that we are not playing with a hunger. We’re looking to point fingers, we’re playing the blame game. But more important, our energy level is not good at all. We’re not doing things quick, not doing things with speed, not doing things with urgency.”
Like we said, Code Red!
We did salvage the night later, thanks to several of our friends from the Western Conference.
We got some quality work from the Suns, Jazz, Nuggets and the surprising Clippers, who upended the Hornets. And we can always count on the Top Plays to get us through: