Miami Heat Struggles- A Blessing in Disguise?

Mar 16, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) and guard Dwyane Wade (3) during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Heat defeated the Sixers 84-78. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Miami Heat went through a similar rough patch like this during last years regular season. In the 2010-11 season they began the month of March in utter disarray, struggling to find victories against multiple playoff caliber teams and sported a 5 game losing streak.

Dwyane Wade, Lebron James and Chris Bosh were at the forefront of public criticism and their continuous struggles culminated questions around the league on whether the Heat could function as a unit successfully.

Miami then won an emotional game against the Los Angeles Lakers, which many believed was a turning point of the season. They would win 15 of their remaining 18 games and go into the playoffs as one of hottest teams in the league.

The Miami Heat have exactly 18 games left in this years regular season. It can be perceived as a blessing that the Heat are experiencing their struggles once again at this time of the season because they have enough time to turn it back around just before the playoffs. But in order to do so, the Heat will have to address their different issues and inefficiencies.

Rebounding Woes

They have lost 4 games in the month of March and in each loss, got severely out-rebounded. In each of those games, the Heat were -10, -16, -5 and -16 in the rebounding margin. In those 4 losses, Miami's starting frontcourt of Joel Anthony and Chris Bosh averaged a combined 7.5 rebounds. If split evenly, that would indicate both Bosh and Anthony are averaging just a little over 3.5 rebounds a game in their losses this month. The Heat will have to rectify their rebounding issues and perhaps Erik Spoelstra will alter his rotations going forward to allow newly acquired Center Ronny Turiaf more time on the floor.

Shooting Slump

Many have begun to wonder if Lebron’s shooting woes can be attributed to his recently aggravated right elbow, which he injured 4 games ago against the Phoenix Suns. While this is certainly a possibility, Lebron actually began his shooting slump a game before that incident. In his last 5 games, Lebron James is averaging 18 points, 4.4 turnovers while shooting 40% and just 2-14 from 3-point range (14%),

I've just got to find my touch. Everyone goes through one of these and I've had it the last four or five games" - James said

Starting Point Guard Mario Chalmers has been struggling with his shot since the all star break. Chalmers was once ranked top 5 in the NBA for 3-point% but is shooting just 9- 37 (24%) in his last 10 games. Shane Battier has also struggled in his last 10 games, shooting a dismal 7-30 (23%) from 3-point range.

With teams hard pressed to clog the interior to limit Wade and James and with the several amount of zone defenses Miami is facing, Erik Spoelstra might have to find shooting elsewhere to help space the floor. With Mike Miller sidelined indefinitely, one has to wonder about former NBA 3-point champion James Jones, who's playing time has diminished this season.

Notes

  • Chris Broussard has reported that Lebron James injured his left ring finger in last nigh't game against the Pacers. The Heat had no comment on his injury and the extent is not known at this point.
  • The Miami Heat's next game is Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks
  • The Heat have 18 regular season games left, 7 of which are on the road
  • In the months of February and March, James Jones has averaged roughly 6.6 minutes a game
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