Before last nights Wizard and Heat game, there were talks about the Heat playing poorly. There was reason to as everyone was playing below their normal self, and the Heat lost three straight. Yesterday, however, the Heat flipped the switch and beat the Wizards 99-90.
Lebron during his slump averaged 19 PPG and shot 38% from the floor. He was not making his shots, not being aggressive on offense, and overall, looked very sluggish. Of course, anyone the night after playing 41 minutes and scoring 61 points would be tired, but the continuous poor play was surprising. Even after a day of rest, Lebron has had much worse numbers than the day after his 61 point game. He did have to face two great defensive teams, but we've seen Lebron play through great teams and dominate. Against the Wizards, however, Lebron shook off three poor games and scored 23 points (10-15 from field). Lebron was not the only reason for the Heat's mini slump, and win last night.
Lebron's surrounding cast was playing no better. The poor guard play was hurting the Miami Heat tremendously. Mario Chalmers, especially, played terrible the past three games. Chalmers is averaging 5 PPG, 3 APG, and shooting 25% from the floor. Chalmers back up, Norris Cole, is not playing like his normal self either. Cole is averaging 5 PPG, 35% shooting from the floor, and 1.6 APG. With the usually quick guards not getting to the basket, and sometimes forcing bad drives to the basket, Lebron is not getting easy looks and neither are the shooters. Cole and Chalmers were unable to shake off a poor slump last night, as they shot 0-11 with 0 points. The Heat need these two to play better, as they are key role players to winning a Championship. The other key players were not playing much better either, until last night.
This year, the Miami Heat shooters are not shooting nearly as well as last year. Last year, the Miami Heat were 3rd in three pointers made and 2nd in 3 point percentage, but now, the Heat are 15th in makes and 10th in percentage. Their poor shooting escalated in the slump. The Heat averaged 30% shooting from three point land (Mediocre) and could not seem to make anything. Shane Battier played horrendous, as he did not made a three point shot for 3 straight games (0-8 the past three games). Lebron is included in this department, as he did shoot 1-9 from three during the past 3 games. Against the Wizards, the team shot much better and shot 47% from three their shooters shot a lot better. Battier shot 2/3, Lebron was 3/4, and Ray Allen was 3/6. Finally, the defense of the Heat played much better last night.
Finally, the Miami Heat defense was greatly struggling. The Heat average 97 opponents points per game in the regular season, but on the 3 game slump, the opponents averaged 102 points per game. A lot of the poor defense again lead back to the guard position. Chalmers and Cole had let Patrick Beverly, Tony Parker, and DJ Augustin outscore in each game. Beverly played great and scored 19 points, Parker scored 10 points in the first quarter alone (Which blew the game open), and DJ went off and scored 22 points. In the Wizards game, Chalmers and Cole played great defense, and forced John Wall into a 2-8 night from the field with only 7 points! Of course, the Heat's biggest disadvantage (Size) showed in the slump. Howard scored 22, Duncan scored 23, and Noah scored 20. Overall, the Heat's defense had been below par in the slump. Against the Wizards, no big man really dominated on either side of the court, and this allowed the Heat to take control of the game.
Since Lebron's 61 point game, the Heat hit a skid in the road and NO ONE was playing well. However, last night, the Miami Heat shook off the poor slump and played great. Lebron played well, the shooters shot well, and their defense was great. I am a little worried about Chalmers and Cole still in a slump, but a win is a win. Hopefully, the Heat can now start a win streak and show they are the best team in the NBA.