HANG TIME, Texas — What if the Mayans just missed it by a week?
Isn’t the Heat losing on back-to-back nights to the Pistons and Bucks really the end of the world?
That certainly will be the talk in South Florida and all points in the anti-Heat miasma, at least until LeBron & the boys show up in Orlando for New Year’s Eve.
On Friday night Miami blew a 10-point lead in losing to the lowly Pistons. On Saturday night they collapsed like a tin shack in a hurricane in the fourth quarter and were whipped by the feisty Bucks.
Uh-oh. Here it comes. The hue and cry from Panicsville:
“Shane Battier treats rebounds like they’re radioactive and fast players go past him like he is a deep-rooted tree. Mike Miller has to be the worst bench player in the NBA who plays significant minutes. Neither could hold down a roster spot on another other NBA club.
“Norris Cole is another not-ready-for-prime-time player. Mario Chalmers is too inconsistent. Ray Allen suddenly looks creaky and at least twice his age, as if his hair would be pure white if he’d let it grow in. Chris Bosh doesn’t know the first thing about playing defense.
“So all the Heat really are is a two-man gang of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and we all know that Wade is wearing out, which is obvious on those nights when he isn’t pulling dirty tricks to get himself suspended.”
It’s enough to get one lost in the standings. I went to the Eastern Conference list and for all my trying couldn’t find Miami down there at the bottom with Washington, Cleveland and Charlotte, where you’d think they’d belong after this Lost Weekend.
Oh, there are the Heat, still up there on top of everyone, including the Knicks who have beaten them twice.
So what happened? In short, the NBA. Sometimes it simply opens its jaws and bites you.
This was only the second time all season that the Heat have lost two in a row, though it was the first time that they took back-to-back losses by double digits.
It was Miami’s succumbing to the grind of a grueling holiday season schedule and and despite all of those muscles and the record-tying string of 28 consecutive 20-point games to open the season, proof that even LeBron is human and eventually became gassed and asked out in the third quarter.
“I was dog tired,” he said. “I would have been cheating my teammates if I stayed out there.
“Four games in five nights . . . we felt it.”
Leave it to our man Ira Winderman of the SunSentinel to provide a bit of perspective and sanity:
Wow, this must be the worst two-game losing streak ever. And the six-game winning streak that preceded it, including the victory over Oklahoma City, clearly was a mirage. OK then, so you’re essentially saying that Erik Spoelstra must be Coach of the Year to have this group at 20-8? Or could it be a schedule that had them playing four games in five nights on Christmas week. Put it this way, how many people do you know who were asked to work in four different cities in five days this past week, Christmas week? Sometimes you bite the schedule; sometimes the schedule bites back.
Let’s face it. Other than the Clippers, Thunder and Spurs, is there another team that can feel as good about its championship chances as 2013 approaches as the Heat? If I gave you the rest of the Eastern Conference contenders, would you figure one of them will be making up half of The Finals next June?
More from Winderman:
Wade said it is another case of the Heat having to step back, address the issues raised in the last two games.
“It’s going to take time, every year,” he said. “You have to figure it out as a team.”
In other words, relax and Happy New Year.