Examining the Recent Miami Heat Struggles

Miami Heat Struggles
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 31: Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat in action during a NBA game against the New York Knicks on March 31, 2017 at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ron Elkman/NHL/Getty Images)

It has been no secret that the Miami Heat have been having their fair share of struggles in the past couple months. They have been losing games against inferior teams, making foolish in-game mistakes, and have lowered their playoff chances. While nobody expects the Heat the be a contender, they are still a very talented team that many expected to make the playoffs. That is why these struggles have come as a shock to those watching. Everyone can see that there is an obvious problem right now, but who or what is causing the problem? Let’s break it all down.

Inside the Miami Heat Struggles

Not Playing a Complete Game

The biggest problem in the majority of the Heat’s losses this season has been a lack of consistency. In most of the recent Heat losses, they have actually played quite well. However, they have been outscored by double-digits in one of the quarters. This will usually lead to losses. This could be due to a number of things such as lineup issues, getting overly comfortable with leads, or a lack of team depth and stamina. When they play the way they do for the majority of the game, they are actually one of the more impressive teams in the entire NBA. Their goal is going to be maintaining this productivity throughout the entire game. The solution to experiment with different rotations in order to find more consistency.

Erik Spoelstra

While Spoelstra has been impressive in his time in Miami, he actually shoulders a large amount of the blame here. He has done a phenomenal job developing players on the roster and should be commended for it. The issue, however, is that he has failed to create a successful lineup and manage player minutes. Take the recent loss against the Phoenix Suns for example. Hassan Whiteside had 28 points and 11 rebounds and was absolutely dominating the game. He was a difference maker and one of the main reasons the Heat had a lead. However, coach Spoelstra decided to limit him to 27 minutes and hardly played him at all in the second half. The Heat were outscored by 14 points in the half and lost by three. The connection here is obvious. Spoelstra has consistently done this with multiple players, which has heavily featured Whiteside this season.

Play at the End of Games

The Heat are often competitive in games into the final minutes but fail to get the win too often. Many fans want to know why this keeps happening and quite frankly so do the Heat. The team lacks a true closer on the roster. That role had been Dwyane Wade’s job for many years and still is now. Obviously, he can still close out a game, but he is now at the point in his career where he is unable to do this night in night out. The Heat roster is filled with young and inexperienced players who have not had these duties before. Wade and Spoelstra need to mentor one of the young studs on the roster such as Josh Richardson to take over this role. They need to teach them how to finish a game and come up with big possessions with the result on the line.

The Solution

The team will obviously need little tweaks in order to improve but in the end, it will heavily depend on Spoelstra. Spoelstra needs to figure out a consistent rotation and find a new a finisher. Whiteside being more involved in the endgame could be key to improving the record. In order for the Heat to make the playoffs, there will have to be some major changes. The entire team must pick up the slack and start winning.


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