People aren't used to the Miami Heat losing. When the Heat lose, everyone has a theory as to why it's happening.
While falling short to Brooklyn proved not to be bad individually for the Big 3, it was the performance of the team as a whole which has again lead to a flurry of pressing questions from basketball fans.
Why did Mario Chalmers dribble out the clock at halftime? Did they really just butcher that potential game winning layup? Is Udonis Haslem a thing of the past?
From the Heat's lapses in defense, to the questioning of whether or not they're motivated, from here on out, we are in an interim until late April -- a playoffs preseason if you will, just with a few more million viewers.
One of the concerns, which stood out, was questioning Ray Allen's minutes on court. Could the man who helped secure the Finals and save the Heat's season only nine months ago really be a hindrance to the Heat this season? The general consensus is it will be a healthy Dwyane Wade that cements a three-peat. Fans still concerned Wade won't go the distance have looked straight to Allen as a possible problem.
No one however was questioning in 2013 if Allen's minutes were hurting the Heat defensively; in fact his defensive rating was worse than it is now, 6.5 points per 100 possessions worse to be exact. When Allen was off the court last season, the team's rating was 97.2 and 103.7 when on. Now? The Heat give up 102.9 points per 100 possessions whether he's on or off the court, shutting down the myth the Heat play worse defense with him.
It's Allen's 3-point shooting percentage, however which most are targeting at the moment. Down from last season's performance of 41.9%, he is currently sinking 36.1% while averaging 26.2 minutes. He's almost a half-minute up on last year's average of 25.8 minutes. He shot 38.1% in the playoffs over a 24.9-minute average.
His offensive rating is not drastically down, nearly a point fewer with 108.5 compared to 109.2. While this hardly calls for him to stay on the bench, for some though, it's relevant.
Except there's a method to this madness. More Allen means less Wade and less Wade means more rest.
When Wades' minutes are down (like the 2011-12 season) and his usage is down (keeping the wear and tear on his body down), Wade should play the kind of playoff basketball, which is required of him. It's natural to question Miami when we look at the way the season started. Wade was sitting out every other game and we all wondered if his knee would hold out.
In Sunday's loss to the Bulls, Wade played 40 minutes, the most he has this season. Wednesday night he racked up 37 minutes. In the last five games, the Heat have secured only one win and Wade hasn't played fewer than 33 minutes in all five contests.
Wade, along with Erik Spoelstra, has appeared to have found the much needed balance going into the playoffs and you'd expect to see Wade start dropping a few more games in order rest and recoup.
Considering the outlook for Wade back in October, right now the Heat should be pleased. While the recent run of losses exposed a few minor combination glitches offensively, the intensity appears up within the team again.
Be it the performance of Ray Allen or Dwyane Wade, this team is dripping with playoff experience and they're not concerned with what you or I say. Oh and these recent weeks? Nothing more than a lull, soon to be forgotten.
Just in time for the right memories to be made.