brilliant coaching
"Remember: None of us is as dumb as all of us!"

The Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade went off for 38 points on 12-for-21 from the field and 12-for-13 from the line (and, typically, 2-for-8 from downtown). Meanwhile, LeBron James shot 14-for-20 (but only 1-for-4 from the line) and nearly had a triple-double (31 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists and, of course, a game-high 4 turnovers). Two superduperstars playing at a superduperstar level.

In a losing effort.

At home.

In the team's fifth loss in a row.

Think about that. Five losses in a row. Four of them were in Miami. Three of them were collapses from a double-digit advantage.

By now you've all seen the damning stats. Miami is 5-13 (.278) in games decided by five points or less. And they've gone 1-for-18 (.055) in the final 10 seconds to win or tie a game this season. That is, by far, the worst crunch-time conversion percentage in the Association.

LeBron's Cavaliers -- with a roster populated by bums, has-beens, never-beens and never-will-be's -- didn't lose five in a row last season. Or the season before that. They lost six in a row during the 2007-08 season, but James was injured in the first loss and missed the next five. In 2006-07, Cleveland never lost more than three straight, and that happened only twice.

You'd have to go all the way back to 2005-06 to find a team with a healthy LeBron that lost as many as five in a row. That team began the season with Larry Hughes on the roster. And when they lost their season-worst sixth game in a row, they used a starting lineup that featured Drew Gooden, Eric Snow and Ira Newble.

Now LeBron is playing with another MVP-level player. And another All-Star.

Of course, as always, it's not LeBron's fault. It's never LeBron's fault. Remember: The numbers always vindicate him. Somebody leading the league in Player Efficiency Rating can't be the problem, right?

So...what is the problem in Miami?

Chris Bosh -- a.k.a. "The Boshtrich" -- has some ideas. To wit: After the game, in which he had one of his patented (Chris: edit time!) did not even live up to his usual double-single by going with a SEXTUPLE-SINGLE (7 points, 4 rebounds, 8 bricks, 2 fouls, 1 steal, 2 lost rocks), he called out his team for not getting him the ball more:

"It is common sense, we can talk about it, but I think it's evident," Bosh said. "I just have to get it where I'm effective. I'm a big man. I can shoot the ball but I'm a big man. So I have to get it where big guys get it. Then I feel I can start helping out this team more."

"I've got to get back in my comfort zone, I haven't been in my comfort zone," Bosh said. "A lot of things are new for me. I just have to be more aggressive in demanding my [the ball] comfort zone, you know I'll take the fault for that... I'm effective down in the low post area, so that is where I need to start getting the ball. I need to be assertive in demanding it."

"I'm saying what I need to do as a player, a closed mouth doesn't get fed," Bosh said. "I'm uncomfortable now so you might as well do something else. If there's a disagreement or something, that's fine, we can talk about it. If they don't want that, that's OK, but I just feel that I have to be my normal self. I'm not there right now. I haven't been there many times this season."
So is Bosh right? Here's some much-needed perspective from ESPN Stats and Information:

After a game in which he was held to 7 points on 3-of-11 shooting, Chris Bosh said he did not feel he was getting the ball enough in the post. Bosh had just 3 plays in the post against the Blazers. During the Heat's 5-game losing streak, Bosh has a total of 19 post plays, including just 6 in the second half/overtime of those games. However, Bosh's average of 3.8 post plays per game during Miami's 5-game slide is not far off his average of 4.2 in his first 55 games this season.
Ah, but now Bosh wants the ball, eh? Countered Wade:

"I think throughout this year we've all had spells where we wanted the ball more."
Speaking of Pookie, well, he gave the press all the right "O Captain! My Captain!" sound bytes in the immediate aftermath of CryGate. But after watching the bench contribute 8 points in a combined 63 minutes of PT -- and after seeing James Jones log three minutes while Eddie House earned another DNP-CD -- Wade gave Coach 'Spo a little under-the-bus nudging.

"That's going to be on our coach and what he felt," Wade said. "Whatever lineup he puts out there, we're going to do our best with it. Hopefully, guys can be aggressive and contribute more. Of course, there are guys on the bench that can help us, there's no question about it. That's all on Coach."

"Of course we've had guys like Eddie [House] to help us win games and James Jones, etc," Wade said. "But [Spoelstra's] going have to decide whether or not people are on the floor."

"Of course we'd be more dangerous if there were more productivity off the bench," Wade said. "But also guys have to play more. It's hard for guys to get into certain rhythms coming in and getting three to five minutes. That's going to have to be something that Coach is going to have to put the guys on the floor and give them confidence."
Countered Spoelstra:

"I'm trying to find anything to spark us and get us back in the game and get us over that hump," Spoelstra said.

"Right now, we're all being measured," Spoelstra said. "We will reveal a lot about ourselves as we move forward. Each and every single one of us, all of us collectively will reveal what our makeup is."

Some would suggest you already have, 'Spo.

Mike Miller: Remember how much the Heat wanted to sign this guy?

LeBron James, quote machine: From Basketbawful reader Factfinder: "How do we explain it? We can't," James said. "This isn't rock bottom for us. Crazy thing is, we could lose every game and still make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference."

Huh. I don't think you're likely to find that in a list of "The Top 10 Things an MVP Would Say In The Face Of Adversity."

Speaking of which, TrueHoop's Henry Abbott compiled a handy-dandy chart showing the common elements (PPG, Wins and PER) of the last 20 MVPs. I'd love it if Henry would add columns for Longest Losing Streak, Win Percentage Vs. .500 Teams, Winning Percentage In Games Decided By Five Points Or Less and The Team's Clutch Shooting Percentage.

I have a funny feeling that the last 20 MVPs would rate much better in those categories than LeBron would this year. In fact, I'd be willing to bet no MVP in the last 20 years ever lost five games in a row.

Oh, one last LeBron-themed goodie, from Nathan Nadeau via chris: "The Miami Heat were 31-9 (77.5%) before LeBron's Karma tweet. 12-12 since and cried after a loss. Down to 67.2%."

Phil Jackson, quote machine: From Basketbawful reader Marylander: "This is the NBA: No Boys Allowed. Big boys don't cry. But, if you're going to do it, do it in the toilet where no one can see."

The Atlanta Hawks: The Dirty Birds became the latest victim of L.A.'s "We're finally waking up for the playoffs" campaign. And I have to say, as much as I hate the Lakers, I do enjoy watching them get pimp-slapped by a contender so everybody gets to see how not contender-y they are.

Larry Drew, coach of the year candidate: Drew tried to counter L.A.'s size by using a small lineup, with Al Horford, Josh Smith and Marvin Williams the front line. Apparently, Larry to beat the Lakers with relentless fast-breaking.

Said Drew: "We tried to put a lot of emphasis on playing up-tempo, and it seemed like we ran out of gas."

So much so that your team feel behind by as many as 22 before losing 101-87, Larry. So, you know, great plan. Who's your battle strategy inspiration? General Custer?

The Cleveland Cadavers: The good news: The Cadavers built a double-digit lead after 12 minutes. The bad news: They were down by double-digits after 48 minutes.

Sad trombone.

Monta Ellis drilled a career-best six three-pointers -- he was 5-for-5 in the third quarter -- and the Cads got freaked out by J.J. Hickson's dislocated digit. Remember: They already lost leading scorer Antawn Jamison to a broken finger.

Said Cleveland coach Byron Scott: "I saw his finger pointing east and west. I didn't want to start crying in front of 17,000 people. It scared me. When he first ran off the court, I was like, 'You gotta be kidding me, another one goes down?' Luckily, he was OK."

But unluckily, your team is still bawful, Byron. Sorry 'bout that.

The Indiana Pacers: The Battle for the Eighth Seed continues! Remember when the Pacers were a surging 7-1 under interim coach Frank Vogel? Then they lost a nail-biter to the Heat and Roy Hibbert pulled a Devin Harris with the following stat curse:

"The rest of the season, we're coming. We're not backing down. We're not having any lackadaisical games. We're on the prowl. We're hungry."

Next thing you know, the once-surging Pacers have lost four in a row and six of their last seven games.

Last night, against the -- dare I say surging? -- Sixers (they've won seven of eight), Indy registered only 13 assists on 35 made field goals and gave up 17 points off 20 turnovers, got outscored 60-40 in the paint and trailed by as many as 21 points. At home.

Said Vogel: "Our guys have to do better. They understand it, I understand it. We're not getting it done defensively and not moving the ball enough."

Defense? What defense?

The Pacers are now only one game up on the Bobcraps for the East's final playoff spot.

The Washington Wizards Generals: Yeah, Andray Blatche got hurt less than four minutes into the game. Yeah, They had five rookies on the court together -- John Wall, Crawford, Trevor Booker, Hamady Ndiaye and Mustafa Shakur -- at one point late in the first quarter and early in the second. (According to the AP recap, the last team to use an rookie-only lineup was the Houston Rockets on March 1, 2010.)

But c'mon. They trailed by as many as 25 and lost 95-76 at home to the Bucks. You know, the team that's 14 games under .500 yet only 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the East. Man, LeBron wasn't kidding when he said the Heat could lose the rest of their games and still make the playoffs.

The Houston Rockets: Houston's D "held" the Suns to 113 points on 54.3 percent shooting. Oh, and that same defense "limited" Hakim Warrick to a career-high 32 points on 14-for-19 shooting. Fortunately for the Rocketeers, the Suns kept them in the game by giving up 17 points off 17 turnovers. End the end, a close game and a chance to win was denied them by...

Brad Miller: If somebody submits this video to the Heat, they might decide to trade for Miller this summer. His clutch resume will definitley put them over the top. From AnacondaHL:

Kyle Lowry: Sure, the kid scored 32 points and nailed a career-high seven triples. But man, as bad as that buzzer-beating airball by Miller was, you have to admit that Kyle put Brad in a bad position by throwing him the hot potato.

Said Lowry: "I should have shot the ball. I should have shot it. I should have made it a clean look."

Vince Carter, quote machine: "I'm not afraid to fail or be afraid to be in that position, to win games for my team. At the same time I hate losing and I hate failing."

That quote just says everything you need to know about Vince Carter, doesn't it?

Chris's Amazing Lacktion Ledger:

Warriors-Cadavers: The Warriors' Reggie Williams bricked once from Euclid Avenue for a +1 in 3:22.

Bucks-Generals: Chris Douglas-Roberts burned one piece of masonry from Gallery Place for a +1 in 2:07, while Washington's Mustafa Shakur rapped his own piece of masonry from the Post Office Pavillion along with two fouls and a turnover in 5:59 for a +4!

Frail Blazers-El (Oh El) Heat: Joel Anthony, like the rest of the Heatles, went down the long and winding road of sucktitude, negating two boards with two fouls and a giveaway in 13:29 for a 3:2 Voskuhl. James Jones put all his money in a big brown bag - 1.5 trillion (1:31) to be exact!

Rockets-Suns: Mickael Pietrus gave Phoenix a +2 in 5:01 via brick and foul. (Chris: And commenter Jabari notes, Pietrus not only had his +2 in 5 minutes, but he only had 5 minutes because he got 2 Techs for arguing with the refs...)

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Anonymous greggrant said...
Unfortunately I watched how the Blazers handled the Heat in Miami. Portland played with an edge and Brandon "I-dont-have-any-knees-but-I'm-playing-although-I'll-not-be-able-to-stand-up-when-I'm-thirtyone" Roy drilled threes with hands in the face, Andre Miller drilled long two-pointers with hands in the face and generally all Blazers drilled all kinds of shots despite Miami's good (but not great) defense. And as you can see, Wade and Lebron did what they had to, so it's time for the other players to step up:
Chris Bosh should go after a rebound to get that wowed 10 rpg, and maybe he should not give up the rock that easily when he gets it at the high post but take his man off the dribble. He was sooo thoroughly outplayed by Aldridge you could see he lost his already shaken confidence by the third quarter.
Mike Miller is nothing. He gives you nothing on the court and is absolutely inferior to James Jones both defensively and offensively (doesn't take charges and doesn't make threes). I understand that he should be brought back into action after the long layoff but the heat doesn't need a fourth ballhandler on the court; they need a shotmaker who can drill the three if the ball is kicked out. Bury him on the bench, Spo!
Dampier is zero offensively, so he shouldn't be the starting center, that should be Ilgauskas as at least he's a reliable pick and pop option, so he can spell Bosh from this duty for at least 12 minutes. After the opening minutes, Dampier or Anthony can be brought on to provide extra defense against bulky/athletic centers.
It looks so easy it's almost suspicious why Spo doesn't change his rotation...

Blogger Cortez said...
"So is Bosh right?"

Short answer, no.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
I'm effective down in the low post area

What the.. is Chris Bosh insane or retarded? The homeless man's LaMarcus Aldridge has never, is not, and will never be any sort of "low post" player. Unless by "low post" he means "face up from 17 feet, and chuck up a lot of jumpers".

Yeah, Andray Blatche less than four minutes into the game.

I think you accidentally a word here, Bawful. I'm going to fill in the blanks with either "got hurt" or "did something Andray Blatche-y".

Blogger Cortez said...
"But also guys have to play more. It's hard for guys to get into certain rhythms coming in and getting three to five minutes."

This is the very issue I pointed out when these guys first got together and then started talking about signing other wings to score (from the perimeter). When were these bums going to be on the court? They play the exact same position as your MVP candidates and the other positions were being played by bums also. They were either going to have to be on fire as soon a they entered the game (e.g. Steve Kerr) or the MVP candidates would have to elevate everyone around them.

Neither has happen because...

LeBron James = Upscale Role Player(tm)

Blogger Will said...
Was it just me or was LeBron smiling when he made that odious quote?
Bawful, I was hoping you would include the video Joel Anthony passing to no one in the corner.

Anonymous Justin said...
A single double would have been an improvement. He didn't reach double figures in any category though, so it's a single-single I guess.

Anonymous Justin said...
or rather a double-single. This is complicated, Bosh is performing so poorly that we are deforming language

Blogger chris said...
Justin: Or to be exact...

The statline was...

8 bricks
4 boards
2 fouls
1 steal
2 turnovers
7 points

Sextuple-SINGLE baby.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
How could you miss this gem from LeBron?

“Our confidence level, me and D-Wade’s confidence level being the leaders of the team, won’t go down,” James said.

Of course not! Not when you're both jacking up 20+ shots and taking more shots than the rest of your teammates COMBINED (32).

The whole "confidence" thing reminds me of this:

Anonymous Jabari said...
Hey Chris,

Is there some kind of special term on the Lacktion Ledger for an ejection?

Pietrus not only had his +2 in 5 minutes, but he only had 5 minutes because he got 2 Techs for arguing with the refs...

Blogger chris said...
Jabari: I usually mark foulouts, but Lacktion Bot 5000 doesn't note leaving the game for any other reason (including a pair of techs). Time to add it though, thanks!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
First Spo tells us about the crying, now he wants to reveal what kind of makeup they're using.
Next up: Tampons or pads.

Blogger chris said...

The Basketball Jones takes on the Heat with an epic parody clip. woot

Blogger Doug H. said...
@greggrant: Huh. So Spoelstra can't figure out an offense or a rotation? Kinda funny, we heard that for years up here with regards to Mike Brown. And Mike didn't have the benefit of having Pat Riley available for consulting. But it has to be the coaching, right? It couldn't be anything else...

Anonymous Shrugz said...
"I never really like to bump against people that are a lot, lot bigger than me," - Bosh

yes this is the guy you want to be your "power" forward

Synergy sports says he's shooting jumpers 50% of the time versus around 30% (forgot the exact number)
but is that because he's less aggressive or is he getting the ball in a bad position? HMmmmmmmmmmmmm

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Where is Aaron Brooks lacktation?

Anonymous kazam92 said...

Pretty much. Expect to see Eddie Hoist unchained from his shackles has he goes 1-8 on three's vs LA tomorrow.

Anonymous laddder said...
The post game lines are more exciting with each Heat defeat...

They're so dumbfounded as to why they are losing when they have 3 of the best players in the league. Each losing effort there's a new reason why. And I love it! hahahaha

AAAAANnnnddd wow the bench is horrid.

Blogger chris said...
Anonymous: Voskuhls only apply to big men

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Look at what my nine-year old son drew in art class.

h/t Truehoop

Anonymous Pistoletti said...
The Boshtrich clip is one of the funniest things I have seen in a while. Great Stuff.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Happy Biggie DDay.

Blogger Math2 said...
Since when is Bosh effective in the low post????????

Blogger The Sports Hayes said...
One thing I noticed is that Miami's bench has been so pathetic at times (due to coaching, awful play or whatever) that the Heat starters (the big 3 in particular) have been logging 40 plus minutes virtually the whole year.
This may not mean much now but even as young and athletic as the Heat are, this will eventually catch up with them.
It also explains why they've blown so many double digit leads. They don't have the stamina or the bench strength to keep up the pace for 48 minutes. Veteran teams such as the Lakers, Celtics and the Spurs can keep pace for 36 minutes and then run past them in the 4th.
I just don't see the Heat as a threat this year, seriously.

Anonymous jj said...
According to the AP recap, the last team to use an rookie-only lineup was the Houston Rockets on March 1, 2010.

bonus nerd points go to whoever lists the names of these rookies

Anonymous Karc said...
If you're a Bulls fan, oh no.

From the owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, "We have an outstanding coach, an outstanding bunch of players, the team is deep, and if we stay healthy, we have an awfully good chance of winning at least four championships.’’

Four? I guess he's only half as crazy as LeBron's prediction of eight. No pressure Rose, no pressure.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow - way to spoil a great season so far Jerry. Rose has to hope this has nowhere near the power of the Devin Harris quote/hex.

Blogger chris said...
The bar that guaranteed either Heat wins or free beer...

is losing moolah.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Fuckin' Jerry Reinsdorf.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
More on BoshGate:

Coach 'Spo:

"I think our minds were cluttered last night. Today, it wasn't about talk. It was about working and practicing."


"You just notice a trend going on and that was something that was on my heart for a while," said Bosh, who was the last Heat player on the practice court as he worked on post-up moves with teammate Juwan Howard. "I just wanted to be honest."

Coach 'Spo:

"We need more paint opportunities, not just from Chris," Spoelstra said, "but from all of our guys working together."

King Crab:

"Chris can always voice his opinion," James said. "If Chris wants the ball then he can ask for it and he can get it. If Chris wants the ball and wants to be more aggressive and wants to be more inserted into the offense, all he has to do is ask for it. When's he's productive, we're a better team."

For the record, 'Spo has been doing a pretty decent Vinny Del Negro impression this past week or so. Doesn't bode well for his return to Miami next season.

Blogger chris said...

For the record, 'Spo has been doing a pretty decent Vinny Del Negro impression this past week or so. Doesn't bode well for his return to Miami next season.

The fact that the Notorious VDN has a job though says a lot about Spo's future.

Which is to say...does he really want to be coaching THIS team, even considering its front-line talent on paper?

He'd probably be much happier in an obscure small market.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
I've had to deal with three years of tired Spo rhetoric.

Blogger chris said...

An analysis on of...

the Heat Clutch Fail Reel!

Blogger Will said...
If/when the Heatles don't win the title, will he be Boshtracized?

Blogger Wormboy said...
Good to hear that Reinsdorf is still as big a dick as he was in the Jordan years.

And has anybody ever seen a "contender" that is less of a contender? Frankly, I had a lot more confidence in the LeBron solo act in Cleveland that the Miami Cold. Climate change indeed. >_<

Blogger lordhenry said...
The Heat are not dead yet, but I'm surprised with all the glaring holes in the rotation, why the 'Spo for Riley" talk has not started back up again.

Really surprised D-whistle has not demanded the ball more and been more involved in the 4th quarter. I agree with whoever said they were surprised at how he seems to just sit back and let Lebron call the shots now.

Mebbe that is all you can do with Lego, sit back and hope all those bricks stack into a house......

Lego= Le-EGO

Anonymous Jackie Boyd said...
Phil Jackson, quote machine: From Basketbawful reader Marylander: "This is the NBA: No Boys Allowed. Big boys don't cry. But, if you're going to do it, do it in the toilet where no one can see."

Or on the bench before the game's over?

Or maybe during an on-court interview with Jim Gray?

Anonymous SirGirthNasty said...
@Jackie Boyd, that's a good point. Although in fairness Kobe didn't take a pot-shot at the Heat for crying. Phil is just playing through the media, he's brilliant at it.

Why can't the heat just watch game-tape of the Celtics 2008 season? Hey, Chris Bosh, want to know why three superstars were able to come together and be successful? Because one still asserted himself as the main scorer (Pierce), the other guy creates without the ball and is probably the greatest spot-up shooter ever (Allen), and the third guy committed himself to being the defensive anchor, and killed himself on the boards, his offense was just a plus (Garnett). Bosh, YOU HAVE TO BE THAT THIRD GUY. You can't continue to cement your legacy as the Rupaul of Big Men.