Answers. That is what I wanted when leaving the AAA this afternoon after watching a group of very talented basketball players, who have proven that talent time and time again this season, put up a total and complete stinker. It's not like they weren't ready...how could they not be? Lets see: the Heat and Bucks played twice already over the past month. Miami had 4 (four) days to prepare for this one (if you include today), on the heels of a pretty crappy home game against a below average team.
But alas, our Jekyll and Hyde Heat are back and in full swing. After the way their game against Minnesota went down, I fully expected Miami to come out with a ton of energy and give the Bucks a run for their money. Boy was I wrong. They scored 18 points but were down by 8 after the first quarter, but then had a solid second quarter thanks mostly to strong showing by Dorell Wright.
The 2nd half went by in a blur of terrible offense and lazy defense. Offensively, nobody was moving without the ball leaving whoever was lucky enough to have it in their hands when the shock clock got low alone to chuck up a prayer. Defensively, their usual strong 2-3 zone looked more like a bunch of guys chasing the ball around. Man on man didn't go much better. Milwaukee simply moved the ball around the perimeter and found the open guy. It was a case of one team doing all the simple things right, and the other looking aimless and lost.
With all the recent discussion about Michael Beasley, he looked just as hapless on Saturday as he had been in the previous few games. I think he took 3 shots from inside the painted area, and the only score he had close to the rim came right after he couldn't finish a wide-open slam. But hey...Beas is young, and will get better. We know this. It's a shame that so much emphasis has been put on the youngsters' recent struggles, but that's just the nature of the beast.
Considering the Heat had three full days to prepare for this one, where should the blame lie? I hate to start getting on the coach, but the bottom line is that a team's performance on the court is a reflection of their coach and what he teaches. That is why they get dismissed so often, regardless of whether it's their ‘fault' or not (depending on who you ask, of course).
It just bothers me that after having days to prepare for Milwaukee's defensive system, it still took watching his team play like crap to make a change. It took 6 whole minutes for Michael Beasley to be replaced after looking very ineffective on both ends. Then, after the poor first quarter, Coach Spo made the move to replace Quentin Richardson with Dorell Wright, who had an immediate impact. To Richardson's credit, he has been dealing with a bruised thigh and lost whatever minutes he would've played behind Dorell to James Jones.
I don't want to on and on with the blame fest...but its no shock to me that there is all this talk about the Heat having a new coach in time to lead their 2010-11 free-agent filled squad into the playoffs, and hopefully beyond.
Here is a collection of
excuses quotes from members of the Heat:
"It was a tough night for us and I don't even think it was really an indicator of a lack of effort or focus. I thought we were pretty focused and making some effort plays. They simply outplayed us, outclassed us. We can't get discouraged because we did what we could this week and this was a bad game. And this cannot affect our next performance. This is an exercise in nothing else but mental toughness right now, as we move forward."
"We have to be able to function when someone gets injured."
"They just went one notch above our energy."
"It's a huge gap with Dwyane out, but we've still got to go out and play hard. We didn't play as hard as Milwaukee did."
"We're not moving the ball, and we're not moving our bodies."
"I feel like it's more my fault than anybody else's. Maybe if I could have grabbed a couple more rebounds and knocked down a couple more shots, we could have gotten on a roll."
- The Heat assisted on their first two buckets and three of their first four. They finished with 9 assists, 1 less then their franchise low.
- Beasley still led the Heat with 7 rebounds. While his offense has struggled, his effort has not. Right now I think its just coming down to decision making, because he has shown that even when he gets the ball around the 3-point line, he can drive past the best of defenders.
- The Bucks have won the season series with the Heat for the first time since 2003. In their three wins, Milwaukee has out-scored Miami by 50 points.
- Miami failed to reach 20 points in three of the four quarters. They had more points in the 2nd quarter (27) then in the entire 2nd half (26).
- Mario Chalmers greeted his welcome back to the back-up point guard position by missing four of his first five shots. He finished with 7 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
- Dorell Wright missed a free throw for just the third time this season. He is now 39-of-42 from the charity stripe.
That's enough for this one. The Heat get right back at it tomorrow up in O-Town. Tipoff from Amway is set for 7pm and the game will be aired on ESPN. Dwyane Wade is doubtful...