This wasn't pretty. In arguably the worst outing the Heat have had all season Miami was throttled by the Denver Nuggets 111-107. It didn't start terribly though, we had a preview of the Heat squad we were used to in the first quarter as we dominated on both the offensive and defensive end creating a lead of 14 points. Nevertheless, just like that it was gone. The Miami Heat turned in their worst quarter ever in the second, and despite efforts from Ray Allen, and the Birdman they weren't able to find any energy until the latter half of the fourth quarter. At one point in the fourth Miami was close to closing the gap, but a sloppy possession by LeBron and some questionable calling by the referees resulted in defeat. Again.
Newcomers to the Miami Heat may not be familiar with losing. On paper Miami is the best team in the league, and the big three era for the most part has been astounding. However, when Miami loses it's usually in bunches and this case is no different.
Nevertheless, it is important to regard where Miami is failing and that's in two key areas where they generally succeed, three point shots and turnovers. The Miami Heat couldn't buy a bucket from beyond the arc tonight (save for Ray Allen, he was awesome) the bricks turned in from Heat "sharpshooters" were extremely concerning. Both Chris Bosh, and Mario Chalmers after spectacular nights from behind the arc just a night before were ice cold. The same goes for LeBron James who's shooting stroke has been dreadful since his sixty one point outing. Turnovers and sloppy play making were also capitalized on consistently by Denver resulting in their impressive lead later in the game. Unfortunately, that's not where it ends. Miami has been extremely poor guarding the paint thus giving up a surplus of easy baskets.
Finally, there is the issue of LeBron who has been for a lack of better words, abysmal down the stretch. He was held to minimal field goals in the second and third, only to continue his average play in the fourth. This is not the MVP LeBron that has graced South Beach over the last three seasons. He's hesitant, un-confident, and lacking the athletic prowess that has made him a monster in the past. Could he be hurt? Perhaps fatigued? The answer isn't clear, but it's definitely a concern.
This loss as dreadful as it was, shouldn't deter from the spectacular outing by both Chris Andersen and Ray Allen. Allen was electric from three scoring a season high 22 points. Birdman added energy when there was none to be found by Miami playing amazingly on both ends. Wade was also solid, demonstrating an array of crafty moves to get to the hoop.
This is not the Miami Heat basketball we have been accustomed to as of late. This sloppy play is a result of something, and I hardly believe it to be what Twitter is deeming the "61 point curse". Spoelstra's experimental lineups were not very effective and if this leads me to believe anything, it's just that other players deserve a look.
As much as Heat Nation would like to panic right now, it's still not the time. Better days are ahead for our Miami Heat, we just have to be patient.