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Shorthanded Heat mauled by Grizzlies down the stretch

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Despite leading for the majority of the game, the Miami Heat sacrificed their lead down the stretch dropping their second straight.

© Justin Ford - USA Today

No Wade, no Oden, no Birdman, no Haslem = big problems. Despite creating a stellar lead and maintaining it for the most part of the contest Miami struggled down the stretch and as a result, were buried by a barrage of threes and great playmaking courtesy of the Memphis Grizzlies.

To be fair, it's impossible to judge the Miami Heat's playoff expectations based on tonight's outing, but as someone who analyzed many of tonight's key moments the fact of the matter is, it wasn't pretty. Firstly, Miami's rotation is extremely strange, part of that is of course based on injuries, but it's obvious that Spoelstra is experimenting and it is in turn costing us games.

Michael Beasley and James Jones are great players in their own right, however they're not seeing minutes. Tonight would have been a perfect game to rest the fatigued LeBron James, and test a complete bench. Nevertheless, that wasn't the case it was all on LeBron and as a result he responded magnificently. LeBron sported a stat line of 37 points and 5 assists as well as some fantastic athletic feats.

However, his turnovers all five were costly. Chris Bosh added 13, but it was Rashard Lewis filling the Mike Miller role and putting up 17 points.

The Miami Heat bench is extremely talented, and my complaint is that certain players are not being used effectively. An example would be tonight's disappearance of Shane Battier down the stretch, Shane's defensive prowess knows no bounds and he would have been great when needed down the fourth, but he was nowhere in sight. It's extremely tough to see a team blow a lead especially having dominated the majority of the match-up

It's a frustrating time to be a Miami Heat fan, especially when a lot depends on Wade coming back healthy and the rest of the team returning healthy as well. Unfortunately, we must bear some of these losses while we prepare for the post-season.

As much as I criticize Spoelstra's rotation, I know he must have a bigger picture in mind regarding the chemistry between LeBron and Dwyane Wade. Heat Nation, it is not time to fret as this is all part of something bigger.