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Heat come out of big test with incomplete grade

Mar 20, 2011, 9:31 AM EDT

LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Miami Heat Getty Images

This was to be the big test. We were going to finally really figure some things out about the Miami Heat.

They had 11 consecutive games against quality teams – every one of them headed to the playoffs. Plenty of contenders in the mix. Finally we would see the Heat against the best.

They finished 5-6.

That is not a passing grade.

Well, it wouldn’t be, except the grade is incomplete. There were flashes from this team — they are the Lakers one loss since the All-Star break, they beat the San Antonio Spurs. Even in their losses, there were moments where you saw the potential of this team and its three stars.

There is no mistaking the fact the last 11 games did not go as hoped for the Heat, they again failed to meet their own lofty expectations. Those 11 games also made it clear the Heat are still figuring things out. The inconsistencies on the court are evidence. The questions is can those issues be remedied by the start of the playoffs in less than a month?

Chris Bosh told Brian Windhorst at ESPN he thinks they learned from this rough stretch.

“It’s been a tough stretch, a lot of ups and downs,” said Chris Bosh, who contributed his fifth consecutive double-double in the win with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

“After the smoke cleared, I think we’ve been better and are a better group now. We’ve seen a little bit of everything. We’ve seen the highs, we’ve seen the controversy, we’ve seen a bunch of different things that we’re going to see again. So when it rears its head again we’ll be prepared.”

It’s one thing to say they have learned a lesson and another entirely to put those lessons into action — this Heat team talked big and has said a lot of things it has not backed up. Some things are getting better, but it’s a mixed bag. For example their half court offense improved (largely due to Bosh) but their defense has not been consistent.

All that doesn’t mean the Heat players and coaches are wrong. They are still figuring it out. And if they do, this team will not have 5-6 stretches.

  1. mrpowers88 - Mar 20, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    This is a cop-out. The only way you can give an “incomplete” grade on an 11-game stretch is if the team had not played all 11 games yet. Seeing as the Heat played the entire 11 game stretch, you can grade them.

    In any sport, winning 50% is average- the Heat didnt do that, so C at best in that aspect. Did they learn anything? Yes. Will they put their new knowledge to use? Who knows- but from the early part of the season, it doesnt look good. I think they will at some point focus on defense to get through tough games, because that depends on all 5 guys doing their job effectively, something they still havent decided to do on offense.

    For this 11 game stretch, they get a C/C+ from me- there is no reason to give them anything higher.

  2. ocgunslinger - Mar 20, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Bosh has seemingly become the Heat spokesman and he can certainly “Talk the Talk” but until the Heat learns how to “Walk the Walk” it means absolutely nothing other than excuses.

  3. henryd3rd - Mar 20, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Look we all know that this is a flawed team and there is no way that they are ready for the “elite” NBA teams; but then again they are still a dangerous team none the less. They will make some contender’s run very difficult at best.

    Next year Riley must plug the obvious holes in this lineup and until that time they will just be another contender trying to get o the next level.

    • loungefly74 - Mar 20, 2011 at 9:37 PM

      “Next year Riley must plug the obvious holes in this lineup and until that time they will just be another contender trying to get o the next level.”

      …great point…IF they have the cap room to do so.

    • therookie773 - Mar 21, 2011 at 1:42 AM

      I agree. For a team that has just assembled (yes I know they are all stars) its still impressive that they can grind it out and at LEAST make the playoffs. The elite teams clearly have more chemistry hence the title “elite”. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to play a motivated Lebron and Wade during the playoffs in the first round because I can definitely seeing them make it to the finals.

  4. frankvzappa - Mar 21, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    ” And if they do, this team will not have 5-6 stretches.”

    …if they meet the Celtics in the playoffs, they will have a smooth 0-4 stretch…

    • ibleedaquaorange - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:35 AM

      You can’t honestly believe the Heat would be swept by anybody. You’re talking about a lineup that has the most upside of any roster around right now. The Celtics could very easily be on the wrong end of that sweep, and if it were to happen, it should surprise no one (well, except you).

  5. ezwriter69 - Mar 21, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    How totally gutless Helin… what a loser YOU are. They took the test, and they flunked. No one was injured, no one was sick, they played, and they lost more than they won. They flunked.
    Doesn’t mean they won’t still win the title, who knows, but YOU created the test, YOU told us it would show us who the Heat are, and now you’re saying, oh, didn’t really mean anything… well bullbleep.
    They flunked, but not nearly so convincingly as YOU Helin.
    Total fail for YOU.

  6. tommyohio - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    There’s too much ego in Miami to actually accomplish the goal, plus they have no more money to finish the job. They won’t even match the Cavs regular season record from last year. Boston is an “elite” team…but they only have one championship with their “big three”. Even so, they’ll knock out the Heat if they face them.

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