Starting a six-game home stand with two double-digit losses does not constitute what most consider a "home court advantage." Ever since coming off their west coast road trip, the Miami Heat have abandoned their defensive mindset, resulting in early blowouts versus the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies. Perhaps after the embarrassing loss Sunday night, wherein the Grizzlies led by 30 at one point, Miami will recapture their early season focus.
A weakness that Miami showcased in their last two losses is the inability to keep up with teams that mix versatility with inside presence. The Mavericks have the combination of Dirk Nowitzki and Eric Dampier (both seven-footers) mixed in with Josh Howard and Shawn Marion. Likewise, the Grizzlies tout Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph coupled with Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo. It seems that this deadly combo of daunting height and freakish athleticism is Miami's recipe for disaster.
But there is hope for the Heat. When they close out defenders and play their trademark disruptive defense, Miami can slow the tempo and manage the game to a pace that fits their style of play. It is no fluke that the Heat have kept up with some of the league's elite, including the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Had it not been for a Hail Mary heave by Kobe Bryant in L.A. the Heat would have beat two of those three aforementioned teams.
In essence, the potential is there - what's missing is the consistency and endurance required to win against high octane offensive teams.
Now, Miami takes a day of rest before facing the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, who have had the Heat's number as of late. Fans can only hope that the deflating Grizzlies loss will spark a fire and raise Miami's level of play through the remainder of the home stand.
'Tis the season to be jolly, but that's no excuse for allowing the joyous and "Gay" celebrations by opposing teams on your home court. It's time that the Heat give their fans something to cheer about once again by bringing home the gifts of victory to the American Airlines Arena.