The Miami Heat are in a major slump. Last night, Miami lost by 33 points and allowed 143 to the Boston Celtics, marking their fifth consecutive loss. For the second straight game, the Heat’s new acquisition, Terry Rozier, struggled to find his rhythm, shooting just 30% from the field and a mere 25% from three-point range, scoring only seven points. Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro led the team with 19 points each, while Jimmy Butler added 17 for Miami. On the other hand, the Boston Celtics, who are playing like the best team in the league, had seven players score in double figures in a game where Miami never looked competitive. As we analyze this losing streak, here are some observations about Miami’s struggles:
Miami’s Offense is Awful
The Heat are having a hard time scoring. Rozier’s addition was partly to bolster the offensive side, but the Heat are now ranked 27th in the league in points per game. Disappointingly, Miami is also struggling with creating second-chance opportunities, ranking 27th in rebounds per game. Coach Spoelstra’s teams, known for their ball movement and unselfish play, are 20th in assists. Rozier has yet to provide the needed spark in his first two games with Miami.
Jaime Jaquez Jr.’s Absence is Concerning
Miami was a different team with Jaquez Jr. in the lineup. Since his groin injury, Miami has not won a full game in his absence. The team is 0-5 during this stretch without Jaquez Jr., their only win coming at Charlotte, where he scored 15 points in the first quarter before exiting due to his injury. While Jaquez Jr. is projected to return to the Heat’s starting lineup in full health soon, it is concerning that Miami is so dependent on a rookie. If the Heat rely this much on a rookie, they may not be a true contender going forward.
Heat Defense Has Collapsed
The Heat have struggled defensively this year, slipping from their previous standards. Currently, Miami is 11th in the league with a defensive rating (DRTG) of 113.7. Although not ideal by Heat standards, they are still among the top third in the league in defense. However, in their five-game losing streak, Miami’s DRTG has plummeted to 27th at 122.7. Despite contending with numerous injuries, Miami’s defense was good enough to keep the team afloat. Yet, during this losing streak, their defense has been historically bad. If this downward trend continues, Miami could end up in the lottery.
Miami Needs More Pieces
Miami’s recent struggles indicate that the team, as currently constituted, needs additional help. The Heat are simply not good enough offensively or defensively. Miami is now 7th in the Eastern Conference with a 24-21 record with only a half-game lead for the 8th seed. While I believe Rozier’s addition and Jaquez’s return will be beneficial in the long term, the Heat need more talent. They should consider bringing in more talent before the NBA trade deadline to strengthen their team. Don’t be surprised if Pat Riley shakes things up again, aiming to restore Miami’s former tenacity and focus.
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