April 10, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) is helped up by teammates shooting guard Dwyane Wade (left) and point guard Mario Chalmers (right) during the second half against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The Miami Heat: From Sizzle To Fizzle


. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

I don’t know if it’s because the season is coming to a close or the players are just getting tired and lazy, but something doesn’t seem right in South Beach these days.

For the 2nd time this month, the Miami Heat lost to their rivals the Boston Celtics in convincing fashion. The Heat are now 13-9 since the all-star break after starting the year 27-7.

Regardless of the reasoning, the Heat are certainly under-performing at the worst possible time.

Based on sheer talent alone, the Miami Heat should be the favorites out of the Eastern Conference to be playing for the NBA Championship this summer. After just one season of “The Big Three” playing together (Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh), the Heat were able to advance to the Finals and compete for the championship against the Mavericks in 2011. Unfortunately for Miami, they would ultimately fall to Dallas in 6 games and fail in their attempt to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Despite their struggles as of late, the Heat currently sit 2nd in the conference at 40-16. If the playoffs were to begin today, Miami would draw a first-round matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Heat bounced the Sixers out of the first round in last years playoffs and swept this years season series 4-0.

The roster is deeper with the additions of Shane Battier and Ronny Turiaf. The players are more experienced after going through the hardships of losing out on the NBA Championship last season. All of the pieces are in place for the Miami Heat to make another solid crack at once again advancing to the NBA Finals.

I just get this sense that the team thinks so highly of themselves that they aren’t giving 110% at a point in the season where building momentum is of the utmost importance.

The Miami Heat are only 3-3 to start the month of April and to begin this final stretch of games before the playoffs commence.

They haven’t flipped the switch yet. There depending too much on the fact that they have 3 of the top 20 guys in the league and that getting 20+ points a night from all three of them will be enough.

News flash.

It won’t be.

The teams reliance on the Big Three to consistently put up big numbers is hurting this team. Perhaps not in their record, but in their chances to make one deep playoff run. The production coming from players who aren’t named Lebron, Dwayne and Chris has been horribly mediocre. More offense needs to come from guys like Shane Battier, James Jones and the returning Mike Miller for this team to get over their slumps.

I can tell that it’s starting to wear on the “3 Kings of South Beach”. James, Wade and Bosh are all going to need rest during these final weeks. It will be easier to find these guys time to sit considering that 4 of their remaining games include the Wizards, Bobcats and Raptors. While those 3 get their much needed rest, other role players can step up and build their confidence in time to be more effective for the playoffs.

Everyone….and I mean everyone needs to be at top form for this team to win that allusive title. James, Wade and Bosh won’t be enough. This is much bigger than just those 3 individuals.

I just feel that this slump and these issues are arriving at the worst possible time. This team needs to be healthy, rested and winning games right now. I don’t care how good they are. If they enter the playoffs on a string of losses, turning on that mental switch and going from zeros to heroes overnight will be that much more difficult.

 

Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports

Tags: Boston Celtics Chris Bosh Dwayne Wade LeBron James Miami Heat NBA NBA 2012 NBA Playoffs