Blogtable: The Bumbling Heat

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Week 12: The bumbling Heat | Shaking up Atlanta | Rock bottom for Lakers?

Are you concerned about the Heat, or is this just a champagne hangover?

Steve Aschburner: Any of the squishy stuff – not being on the same proverbial page, their intensity level on any particular game night – doesn’t rate as a legit concern for Miami in my view. It’s not uncommon for defending champs and top contenders to sputter a little in the middle of a regular season, considering how drawn out and unfocused the schedule can be. But the tough stuff, as in defending the rim and rebounding? Yes, that’s completely legit. That’s the potentially fatal flaw on a team otherwise capable of winning once or twice more (thanks primarily to having the game’s best player).

LeBron James, by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

LeBron James, by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

Fran Blinebury: I’m not saying the Heat shouldn’t buckle down and work to snap out of their current funk. But the past two seasons have seen similar stretches. They lost five of six and had another spell of losing six of seven in 2010-11. Last season, they lost five of eight in April and the sirens were blaring. As long as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are healthy for the playoff run, they’re still the team to beat in the East.

Jeff Caplan: Mildly concerned. There does seem to be some passive-aggressive behavior going on here, sort of like a gaggle of jealous school girls. Suddenly Dwyane Wade says he misses “every day” those bygone times when he took 25 shots a game? Well, who recruited LeBron James and handed him the keys to the franchise? What happened to the unselfishness and sacrifice necessary to bring multiple championships to South Beach? As far as the coach, who knows the respect these superstars have for Erik Spoelstra. But look, he’s overcome extreme pressure and scrutiny to get the Heat to back-to-back Finals. And the fact is there really isn’t a major threat in the East unless you think the Celtics can bring it come the spring. I just don’t see the Knicks having enough gas to get it done. LeBron is such a remarkable player and flanked by Wade and Bosh — even if they’re all sorta, kinda grumpy with each other — that Miami remains my hands-down favorite to play for another title.

Scott Howard-Cooper: No and no. It is not a delayed hangover. It is the reality that there is no such thing as a perfect team, and not just this season. There is a difference between a slump and cause for panic. While there will be attention on how Erik Spoelstra distributes minutes, especially in the fourth quarter, the Heat are still the team to beat in the East and arguably the entire league. Stuff happens.

John Schuhmann: Neither. I just think that they have a defensive system — attacking pick-and-rolls and recovering from there — that requires a lot of athleticism and energy. They have the athleticism, but the kind of energy required to play that system at a high level just isn’t sustainable over 82 games. I think they should rank a little higher defensively than where they are (13th), and maybe there’s a championship-hangover factor in that ranking, but I also believe they can flip the switch when the time comes. In the meantime, they’re plenty good enough offensively to stay on top of the Eastern Conference.

Sekou Smith: Concerned in the way an umbrella is about a slight mist in the air. The Heat have issues (no depth in the frontcourt, a penchant for believing they can turn it on whenever they feel like it, etc.), but nothing that worries me this time of year. Barring a significant/season-ending injury to one of the Big 3, the Heat don’t have any glaring issues that should concern me, you or anyone else. Good teams stumble all the time. Great teams, too. The Heat are no different. I won’t lose any sleep over this little hiccup in their season.


  1. Mitch says:

    The Heat need more depth in the paint…..a trade for Pau Gasol would fix that but who could they offer to make it a deal that LAL would accept??

  2. Basz808 says:

    Really? They stilled their division. Wade is still getting healthy. Who cares if they aren’t 50-0… They’ll be ready come playoff time!!!

  3. DurantWadeRashid says:

    Don’t worry they will bounce back in there next games! 🙂

  4. bballjunkie1 says:

    I’m concerned as other teams have gotten taller and better from last year. Pacers, New York, Brooklyn, Chicago, Boston all could be a problem in a series. Bosh simply cannot do all the rebounding, Lebron will have to play defense all game as well as score which he’s done but these teams have more weapons, these 2 can’t cover everybody. I personally feel they need to get a banger with some height at trade deadline.

    • Shadowspinner says:

      Every team in the East has upset potential balanced by a glaring weakness:

      New York – talented bigs in Amare, Chandler, and Melo (he’s a big body) and the ability to shoot themselves into any series if they get hot. The downside – inconsistent defense and the ability to shoot themselves out of a series if they get cold (live by the three, die by the three)

      Brooklyn – some size and talent. Downside is inconsistency and inexperience.

      Indiana – size and killer defense. Downside is lack of a go to scorer and offensive droughts.

      Chicago – aggressive defense and some good rebounders. Downside is no one knows how good Rose will be when he comes back and the lack of a go to scorer if he doesn’t come back comparable to how he was.

      Boston – experienced and gritty. Downside is that the experience is because they’re old and less depth and talent than some previous years. This is probably the longest shot here and I say that as a Celtics fan.

      and Miami – top heavy talent that can win games by themselves. Weaknesses – inconsistency, rebounding, and the bench. Their bench stepped up big to allow them to win it last year – we’ve yet to see that this year.

      That makes all the teams vulnerable.

      Out west the teams are far stronger for the real contenders

      OKC – only question is turnovers. They keep them under control they’ll win, they cough the ball up and they’ll lose. This is tied to Westbrook and Durant’s decision making (they’ve both had cases of the oopsies on and off through the season).

      SA – they’re old. That’s their only weakness. Their bench controlled a game vs Miami for 45 out of 48 minutes for god’s sake.

      Memphis – built for the playoffs with talented bigs and a solid backcourt, inexperience is the only question for memphis.

      LAC – Talented and deep, their ability to win a slowed down half court game is in question and will continue to be so in the playoffs. This is reinforced by the fact that they play with less defensive energy when they aren’t running and less defensive energy results in less chances to run – a viscious cycle.

      Golden State – dark horse team. Inexperience and lack of depth mean that they won’t go all the way, but they could be an upset team.

  5. Sam says:

    Caplan knows that Wade isnt even taking 15 z
    shots a game so yeah thats pretty unselfish

  6. Reality says:

    Wait till April….Nuff said

  7. eri bur says:

    They are still #1 in the east last I checked. I think they are trying to pace themselves because teams are coming strong at them and every team wants to beat the best. Lebron has been going nonstop. I think its wise they pace themselves and , like I stated earlier, even with rebounding issues their yet top seed in the east, no worries the championship will remain in south beach in 2013.

    • Shadowspinner says:

      Top seed in the East . . . .. yet only good enough to be 5th or 6th seed overall.

      They don’t match up well against big teams or teams with good rebounders like – Indiana, Chicago, New York, and maybe even Brooklyn.

      I think that they’ll get out of the east, but based more on the fact that every eastern team has a glaring weakness than on any real merits Miami has shown. Once they face the West, well that will be something else.

      Simply put, the Heat aren’t playing like champions right now.

  8. prix says:

    Nothing’s wrong with the Heat…They still play more better than Spurs and OKC…or even the Clipps…and way far more better than the Lakers and Boston…they just reserve their energy for the playoffs…they just toying around right now and giving charity wins like the Wizards

    • Mykonmorales says:

      ahahaha “ok” clippers are way better than Mia.okc is weak and spurs are too old to compete for a title.

  9. Balilla says:

    Concerned?! They are in the Eastern Conference bracket for god sake’s! If they are in the west perhaps..