Think way back.
Think as far back as when you were a child. Remember the first time when you were learning how to tie your shoelaces? Many of us suffered from having anger problems because you could never get the knot to stay in place properly. No matter how many turns and twists that you made with the laces, they never could stay in place. However, after learning the process and repeating the same habitual steps to tying the shoes and eventually it clicks.
When that moment comes you feel joy and relief knowing you don’t have to rely on other people to tie your shoes for you.
For the Miami Heat, one of the things they can learn this season is to continue to learn the process of making the right winning plays in basketball games in order to become successful. Many fans around the city are waiting for this team to finally click because it seems like they do make the right plays in order to win games.
What’s the problem then and why aren’t they a better team with a better record?
It Begins With Consistency
One of the reasons why the Miami Heat isn’t in the upper echelon of the league yet is because they are too inconsistent.
The biggest example is looking at the two games they played against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The first game was a tough win as Miami took Oklahoma City to the wire where they ultimately pulled away and secured the 97-95 victory. Then on Sunday night we got to see Miami get completely outclassed by a team who they previously already defeated as Oklahoma City ran away with the rematch winning the contest 99-74.
Now that the road trip is over and counted for Miami will have to find more motivation to start getting back to their winning ways.
“We knew this road trip was going to be tough. We played three of the top four Western Conference teams. I’m not worried about it.“
– Dwyane Wade
Where’s the Defense?
Get it out of your mind.
The physical makeup of Miami’s roster this year is much different than before. Instead of playing small, with more tempo, and better spacing, Miami wants to strangle their opponents with their stifling defense. The Heat are among the league leaders defensively only allowing their opponents to only score 95.5 ppg.
When Miami is on their game they get stops and they win. Other times it’s much more difficult to defeat them.
Rejected by the Department of Justise! ⚖✋ https://t.co/x23xVcW5Dq
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 10, 2016
“There’s not as much pressure on your offense when you’re getting multiple stops in a row and you don’t feel like you have to score. We are a defensive, physical, gritty team, but when we don’t play that way, we don’t really find ways to win.”
– Erik Spoelstra
The best game by far on the road trip was watching the way that Miami clamped down defensively against Denver. The Nuggets started the game going 15-of-21 from the floor and 5-of-5 on three-pointers. They even built up a large 44-29 lead. But after that portion of the game Miami started to remember they’re a defensive-minded team and held Denver down as they shot a woeful 17-of-57 overall from the floor. That three-point shooting which kept in the game so long was also put in check as they finished going 1-of-13 to finish at 41 percent.
“Miami is long and athletic; they can switch. I credit Miami’s defense and attribute it to our lack of handling those runs”
– Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone
Now that the difficult road trip is over, Miami will have their opportunity to gain more traction in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Right now they are fifth in the conference and their next seven upcoming games are all against Eastern Conference opponents.
The reason this team walks like a champion is because this organization is a championship franchise. It’s only a matter of time before their roster starts to tie their shoelaces correctly and then it’ll click.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.