Every game is a potential loss for the Miami Heat, especially when Dwyane Wade isn’t playing and LeBron James shouldn’t really be. Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans were the next team to be the defending NBA champions, whose losses aren’t that surprising anymore.
Davis had 30 points to go with 11 rebounds and 3 steals while shooting 13-of-22 from the field in a very impressive performance from the second-year player, who has advanced this season into what seems like superstar level, only doing it on a team that’s still not quite there when it comes to their place at the big kids table.
The Heat continue to use different lineups and rosters each night, with Wade and Greg Oden getting a rest, while Toney Douglas and Udonis Haslem find themselves in the lineup once again. When you have LeBron James and Chris Bosh in the lineup you shouldn’t be doing too much complaining, but these swings in talent from game to game are obviously causing some problems to a team that’s more busy forging an identity and chemistry all of a sudden instead of worrying about finishing first in the Eastern conference.
Put another injury on my list. It is what it is. I’m not using it as an excuse. It’s too many excuses. Everything is an excuse. We do something wrong, it’s an excuse. We don’t get a stop, it’s an excuse. We turn the ball over, it’s an excuse. What we’re doing right now ain’t good enough. It’s very frustrating. We’re all frustrated,” James continued. “We just got to all get on the same page. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’ve got to figure it out. We’re not accustomed to this type of play, these type of standards, particularly on the defensive end, and if we want to change, we have to look inward.
LeBron James twisted his ankle during the game and was playing with a bad back to begin with. He finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists. Not bad for an injured player, but it wasn’t enough as the Heat were dropped 95-105, remaining behind the Indiana Pacers who lost as well, and are three games in the lead of the Eastern conference. Mario Chalmers had another very good game with 19 points and Michael Beasley was excellent off the bench with 16. However the Heat are playing bad defense for most of the time and their offense gets stuck for too many minutes, something James can’t seem to help them get out of.
The Pelicans won’t make the postseason, but at least they have a win over an impressive opponent to take with them towards the upcoming summer vacation. Besides Davis being close to unstoppable from every range, Tyreke Evans had another solid game in the starting five with 16 points and the Pelicans finished hitting 41.1% from beyond the arc and scoring 52 points in the paint.
The Heat will no doubt look better and probably healthier a bit later this season and when the playoffs begin, but these little hints dropped by them about their problems against even teams that have nothing to play for this season suggests one more time that defending their NBA title this time is going to be a lot more difficult.