Three years ago, when the Miami Heat were going through growing pains of a newly-formed superteam, people naturally overreacted. Now that they’ve silenced the critics with two consecutive NBA titles, their slow start in the chase of a three-peat hasn’t set off too many alarm bells.
Dwyane Wade and LeBron James admit that the squad is fighting through some early season malaise, and that they don’t quite yet have their chemistry figured out.
Per the Miami Herald:
Heat guard Dwyane Wade cited an analogy of a long-term relationship that has gotten stagnant. “If you’re in a relationship with a woman for a long time, you start getting comfortable. You stop doing the little things that you should do that you did in the beginning. That’s kind of it. We’ve been together for a while. We’ve gotten comfortable. We automatically think the guy’s going to be there when he’s not going to be there. We just didn’t communicate as much.”
Said LeBron James: “We’ve been together so long, you start to think maybe you can just go out and make it happen instead of talking through it. We got a handle on it [Sunday].” James said players and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra brought up the issue earlier Sunday. Spoelstra explained before Sunday’s game, “Connected basketball is doing it where all five guys are on the same page. Defensively, we know what we’re talking about. There are times in the last two games [losses to Philadelphia and Brooklyn] where we’ve played as well as we possibly can. Then there are other possessions where we are running into each other.”
The Heat reached .500 last night by snapping a two-game losing streak with a 103-93 victory against the visiting Washington Wizards.
They have plenty of time to sharpen their focus and get re-acquainted. Miami’s opponents also know that opportunities will present themselves, with the defending champs coasting whenever possible during the regular season, as they rest their weary minds and bodies for the Playoff wars that await them.