by Marcel Mutoni / @ marcel_mutoni

Following a curious 101-96 road loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, there was obvious frustration within the Miami Heat locker room.

Chris Bosh sounded the alarm bell when it comes to the defending back-to-back NBA champions’ inconsistent play, while Shane Battier pointed out that the Heat haven’t been this bad, this late in the season during their title runs before.

Per the Miami Herald:

“I wish I had an answer to that,” said Bosh, when asked about the Heat’s inconsistent play. “We aren’t used to playing so unstable. I think we are trying to figure it out — what our style is, what our consistent plays are. We are in this gray area right now.

“We need to pick it up. We are running out of time. We still have time, but we have to do a better job if we want to win.”

“We have never played this poorly at this point in the season before,” said Shane Battier, who played less than six minutes in the second half. “This is uncharted territory for us, but I like to think it will forge us and make us better for the stretch run.

“But we have to make it happen. We can’t just hope that things will turn around.”

In their daunting quest to reach the NBA Finals four straight times, few expected Miami to be at their best through the endless slog of the regular season.

With the battle for Eastern Conference supremacy raging, the Heat (46-20) trail the Indiana Pacers (50-18) – who’ve been experiencing their own struggles of late – and will have to pick up their play considerably to gain the top seed.

Chris Bosh and company are understandably unhappy with their own performance, an irritation only heightened by the knowledge that much greater challenges await them.