By Carl Cabey
The Miami Heat are 8-4 with a 3 game losing streak and going 1-3 on a 4 game road trip. The struggling Miami Heat have faced problems with free throws and closing out in the 4th quarter bringing up the famous “who should close: LeBron or Wade” question. After the Heat loss to the Denver Nuggets coach Erik Spoelstra said “sometimes you’re never quite as good as you think you are, or as bad as you think you are.” We have to go home and get healthy and get better.” The loss at Denver was the Heat’s 10th straight loss there and Dwyane Wade has yet to win in Denver. Lebron James and a couple other Heat players stayed after practice and practiced their free throws. With the Heat’s struggles they still had many opportunities to win back to back games against the Warriors and Clippers.
The bigger problem is will the Heat ever be 100% healthy. We never got to see a fully healthy Miami Heat team last year with Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem hurt and this year health seems to be another problem. In the Denver game Wade sprained his ankle and said it’s never hurt this bad before. “It’s not broken so that is the positive. Everything else, you know. I’ve sprained my ankle plenty of times but I’ve never sprained it like that before.” Lebron says Wade just needs to sit out and get healthy. “He’s got a lot of injuries going on right now, “Hopefully he can take the next couple of days off his feet and will feel better by Tuesday.” Chris Bosh says “he needs to chill out and get better.”
With a shorter season and less time in between games the main goal is to go into the playoffs healthy. Mike Miller is said to be close and we may see his season debut on Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs. If Wade doesn’t play Spoelstra may go with James Jones like he has in the past, or if Miller is healthy he can go that route. If Miller doesn’t play look for rookies Norris Cole and Terrel Harris to receive more playing time. Miller got more full-contact practice work on Sunday and will get it again on Monday. Spoelstra also experimented with a Chalmers-Cole back-court but don’t expect that to be the starting lineup.
This is also a good time to get LeBron James’ confidence up if the Heat are in position to let him have the ball in his hands with the game in question at the end of the game. They may also need to feed Chris Bosh more and let him open things up. Last year Bosh said he wants it where big men get it and if the Heat struggles continues expect him to come out and ask for the ball more again. The next two opponents for the Heat are the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers and if they win those two expect all the questions to go away until they go on another two or three game losing streak.