Wednesday night the Miami HEAT ended a long home stand that didn’t exactly turn out the way the team had planned. After the first game in Orlando, the HEAT were without Hassan Whiteside for 5 games. The HEAT finished their home stand 3-4, losing 3 straight games to the Kawhi-less Spurs, Celtics and Timberwolves. They hadn’t lost 3 straight since last season before their 13-game win streak. Everyone at the AAA felt that this game was a must-win, especially since it was against the Bulls, who were sitting close to the bottom of the East.
The game started the way the guys wanted it to, although they were without James Johnson. Johnson is suffering from tendinitis in his right knee, and although no one seems overly concerned, it was best for Johnson to sit out this matchup. The HEAT came out quickly with a 10-point lead after the 1st quarter and all scorers on the board, but that lead quickly diminished at the end of the half behind the efforts of Bulls Robin Lopez and Lauri Markkanen.
This has been an ongoing problem for the HEAT. They have been able to build as high as 19 and 21-point leads in other games, but sustaining the lead or even maintaining a level of comfort on the hardwood hasn’t come to them. The look on Dion Waiters’ face after the win against the Bulls said it all. It wasn’t that of a team leader who just helped his team capture the W. It was a tired and defeated look. There seemed to be concern in Waiters’ eyes, as he knows the 6-game road trip ahead looms to be certain disaster if they keep these types of highs and lows going.
HEAT players held a players only meeting over the weekend before losing in OT to the Timberwolves. Though the team sits at 10th in the East currently, it’s safe to say that we’re only 7 games into an 82-game season. One thing this squad is known for is their ability to figure things out. Don’t expect that to change anytime soon.