Things continue to spiral in South Beach. Following a demoralizing 105-95 road loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night, Chris Bosh and LeBron James lit into their team. Bosh – whose spirits seemed to have picked up during a wild 30th birthday celebration Sunday night – said the defending two-time NBA champion Miami Heat aren’t a very good basketball team right now. Per the Miami Herald:
“We don’t talk about it,” a frustrated Bosh said about Miami’s on-court problems. “We’re not expressing ourselves in the locker-room or on the court. So I figure I’ll be the first one to say we suck and we need to turn it around and if we don’t turn it around, we’ll be watching the championship at home.
“We continue to show up and do whatever. Loss, nobody is upset. Win, nobody is happy. There’s no passion. There’s nothing. I just want there to be something. If you are mad, say you’re mad. If you are frustrated, say you are frustrated. We just need some dialogue. It’s uncomfortable keeping things in. We’ve been keeping things in for a whole season now. You have to let it out.”
“[Words] can definitely light a fire. [But] that isn’t going to make the next game easier,” he said. “We need that competitive drive back. We don’t have it. No offense to the Pelicans but we’ve been losing to sub .500 teams for a month now. It’s unacceptable. We’re going to have to draw the line in the sand somewhere.
“It starts and ends with us. Right now, we’re looking for other people or some miraculous situation to come down and help us and nobody is going to help us. The only person that’s going to help us out of this is the person standing back in the mirror. Until we recognize that and acknowledge it and fight past it, we’re going to keep getting the same result.”
Most disconcerting is the Heat’s dramatic defensive drop-off. In field goal percentage against, the Heat ranked second, fifth and sixth the past three seasons, finishing between 43.4 and 44 percent every year. This season? Miami is 18th at 45.7, with lottery-bound Orlando, Cleveland and Boston all stingier. Only twice in the past 14 seasons has Miami finished out of the top 10 in that category.
“On defense, we can’t stop a nose bleed,” Bosh said. “It has nothing to do with talent level. This team [New Orleans] got everything they wanted. They’re not even an outside jump shooting team. They lit us up on the three-point line. Penetration. No good man [defense] or blitzes. No good pick and roll coverage. Everything is bad.”
(LeBron) James was asked to explain why the Heat has allowed seven of its past 11 opponents to shoot between 49.3 and 52 percent.
“There’s a disconnect,” he said. “We have to get reconnected.”
Is it because of all the lineup changes? “That’s an excuse, too,” he said. “We’ve always had lineup changes. First of all, you have to guard your man and help second. When you break down, you have to rely on help. We’re not getting both. Guys are not playing their man. When guys get beat, which will happen in this league because it’s great players, then the help comes. We’re not doing it.”