Heat say things will change, and change soon

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 07, 2012
(Eds: Updates.) By TIM REYNOLDS AP Sports Writer LeBron James and four teammates chatted for several minutes under a basket after the Miami Heat finished practice on Friday afternoon, each player sporting a serious look for the entirety of the conversation. For the first time this season, the reigning NBA champions are dealing with some real trouble. Back-to-back losses - at Washington on Tuesday, then by 20 points at home against a New York Knicks team that didn't even have Carmelo Anthony on Thursday - have soured the Heat mood. Add that to some poor defensive numbers and Miami already needing six late rallies before closing out wins so far this season, and it's easy to see why no one seemed to be laughing at work on Friday. ''When you win everything's great. When you lose everything's bad,'' Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. ''That's how it works.'' As Wade spoke, James was chatting about 50 feet away with Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem and James Jones, a few of them sometimes gesturing at spots on the court as if to mimic how a play is or is not supposed to work. Typically, when the Heat are done with their actual practice, it's a light-hearted time, one filled with shooting contests and things of that nature. That wasn't the case on Friday. ''There is a cloud over our team because we're not defending like we know we're capable of defending,'' James said. ''We have some room for improvement. The good thing is we can be great. But right now, we're not good. We're not very good right now as a team and we've got to get to that point.'' Miami's next chance to start getting to that point comes Saturday, when the Heat play host to New Orleans. The Heat saw the Knicks make 18 shots - on 44 tries - from 3-point range on Thursday night, which became the latest entry on a list of events where Miami believes opponents have thrived simply by getting up to play against last season's champions. So far this year, the Heat have seen opponents score at least 100 points 11 times in 17 games. Last season, that happened 16 times in 66 regular-season games. Some of the highlights, or lowlights, include the following: - Washington scored 105 points against Miami on Tuesday, the most the Wizards have managed in regulation against anyone all season, and remember, they had one win all year entering that game. - Wayne Ellington made seven 3-pointers for Memphis in a win over Miami on Nov. 11. He's 3 for 21 from beyond the arc since, entering Friday. - Raymond Felton had a season-high 27 points, and tied a career-high with six 3-pointers in the Knicks' win Thursday. ''Never seen anything like this,'' Bosh said of how opponents have at times scored at will against Miami. ''And I've played on some bad defensive teams. We're not one.'' The most troubling defensive stat of all for the Heat is likely this: Miami entered Friday 23rd in points allowed per game, after finishing fourth in the league in that stat last season. The Heat have allowed the third-highest number of 3-pointers in the NBA so far, nothing new after giving up the second-most makes from beyond the arc a season ago. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra often speaks of habits and the human condition, and he was asked Friday if Miami's struggles are simply because the team knows the playoffs are still four months away. ''If that is a reality, then that is a major problem,'' Spoelstra said. ''But we have an opportunity to correct it, you know, right now. If it goes too long, what it becomes is a tendency. Goes longer than that, it becomes a habit. If it continues, by the time you get to the playoffs, that's who you are. So that's what we're going to change right now.'' James insisted that the regular-season-is-irrelevant argument doesn't apply to Miami. ''Not for me,'' James said. ''It's not for me. My motivation is well beyond hoisting one trophy. I'm not taking any shortcuts to get to that point, so I can't allow my teammates to take shortcuts. We've got to be better. I've got to be better. It's that simple.'' For two years, ever since Wade and James and Bosh decided to play together in Miami, the Heat have been surrounded by what they call ''noise.'' Everything the Heat have done, the good and especially the bad, have been scrutinized. Winning last season's title, they figured, would relieve perhaps a tiny bit of that noise - that is, until the first rough patch of this season arrived. It's now here. And some inside the Heat locker room think that the extra motivation might not be a bad thing right now. ''We understand what it takes to win,'' Haslem said. ''We understand that we have what it takes to win. But not performing at a high enough level defensively, it's just a shame. We've got to fix it. And we're going to fix it.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL denies sending Donald Trump letter about schedule

Michael Bennett calls out NFL stars for not speaking up on social matters

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker