Thursday, January 21, 2010

Heat Diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder

January 21, 2009

The latest diagnosis of the Miami Heat is in: the team is suffering from a case of bipolar disorder with flashes of confusion and temporary loss of identity. There is no clear-cut cause of this latest development in Miami's extremely sporadic play. The only thing that is certain is the trend of polarizing performances from game to game.

Looking at the past six games, this troubling trend can be spotted with clarity. Here are the point differentials of the final scores in those games:
  • Jan. 11 @ Utah Jazz: -29
  • Jan. 13 @ Golden State Warriors: +13
  • Jan. 15 @ Houston Rockets: +9
  • Jan. 16 @ Oklahoma City Thunder: -18
  • Jan. 19 vs Indiana Pacers: +30
  • Jan. 20 @ Charlotte Bobcats: -39
Now to analyze the potential causes of such drastically different results many questions come into play. Is Erik Spoelstra to blame for a poor coaching job? Is Dwyane Wade at fault for poor leadership? What is behind this all or nothing mentality that is plaguing the Heat?

For one thing it cannot be said that this team "just isn't good enough" as they have handed losses to teams like the Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns; all of which are elite teams in the league. And the potential to succeed is there with solid performances from Michael Beasley and occasionally from Jermaine O'Neal, Quentin Richardson and Udonis Haslem.

One thing that is certain is the prototype of the teams that hand Miami their toughest losses. With the exception of the Utah Jazz' 29-point loss, the Heat are highly vulnerable to the young, hyper-athletic teams in the league. It is no coincidence that the Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder and Charlotte Bobcats have all defeated Miami by 10 points or more this season. In fact, the Heat have not secured a single victory against any of those three teams.

Combining the five losses suffered by those teams, the Heat have faltered by an average of 21.6 points.

While the 2010 offseason is just a few months away, the team must find a way to focus on the remainder of this season. There is no excuse to perform while firing on all cylinders one night and falling asleep at the wheel the next night. If a 39-point loss does not wake up this team and push them towards consistency, then it's unsure what else will.

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