Dwyane Wade warned as far back as three weeks ago that the jury was still out about the makeup and capabilities of this year’s Miami Heat team, and this week LeBron James and fellow Big 3 running mate Chris Bosh derisively rendered their personal verdicts after the two-time defending champs dropped their seventh decision in their last seven games.
“We suck,” Bosh told ESPN after the Heat were torched by the less than mediocre New Orleans Pelicans 105-95 on Saturday night. “After a loss, nobody’s upset. After a win, nobody’s happy. There’s no passion. There’s nothing. If you’re frustrated, say you’re frustrated. Give reasons for that. We’ve been keeping things in for a whole season now. And we’re running out of time. We need to let it out and have some urgency.”
Added four-time career and reigning league MVP James “I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we have to figure this out. There’s too many excuses. Everything is an excuse. Something goes wrong? An excuse. Lineup change? An excuse. Turn the ball over? An excuse. What we’re doing right now isn’t good enough.”
The underachieving stretch has rendered the Heat speechless at a time when all seem in staunch agreement there needs to be increased and heartfelt discussion.
“We need some dialogue around here,” added Bosh. “It’s not healthy to keep it in. On defense, we can’t stop a nosebleed.”
And so it is, the Heat now find themselves at their defining moment in their season of would-be immortality. James, Wade and Bosh are seeking to become only the third team—joining Jordan’s Bulls and Kobe’ Lakers— to earn an NBA three-peat over the last two decades. But if the last several weeks are any indication, the odds are now much more stacked against them than at any other point this season.
“Yes, our locker room is frustrated,” Coach Erik Spoelstra admitted following the Heat’s meltdown in New Orleans. “Yes, our locker room is angry. We’re not used to these standards. We did not defend. We did not have that tough, gritty personality.”
Seven of the Heat’s last 11 opponents have shot at least 49 percent from the field, significantly better than the team’s long stellar defense has allowed over any other comparatively recent stretch.
And things don’t figure to get any easier with Wade battling season-long ailments and James now being hampered by an ankle sprain and sore back. Mario Chalmers, Greg Oden, Michael Beasley and Udonis Haslem have also all missed significant time with various injuries.
But in the heart and view of a champion, none of that should matter. “We’ve always had lineup changes,” James said of the constant changes stemming from all the injuries. “Guys who are on the floor need to produce. It’s that simple. It’s very frustrating. We’re all frustrated.”
James, Wade and Bosh are now hoping that all the mounting frustrations will lead to renewed determination. Immortality awaits them and they are all eager to figure out just how to embrace it.