March 06, 2011
It's safe to say the Miami Heat took Sunday's loss to the Chicago Bulls harder than some of their noted fair-weather fans. According to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, several Miami players were reduced to tears following the team's 87-86 loss to the Bulls. The defeat marked their third close loss to Chicago this season, and it tops off a frustrating week that started last Sunday with the squad's tough defeat at the hands of the New York Knicks. The Heat now have lost four in a row.
After Dwyane Wade's(notes) last-second desperation jumper rimmed out, a catatonic Heat team sulked to the locker room. The Heat's season-long clutch struggles were made even more obvious with Sunday's national TV showing while Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game that Chicago has "guys who can close."
And whether he was trying to relay his team's frustration and obsession with winning, or trying to point out a weakness, Spoelstra dropped a dime on some unnamed players. According to The Associated Press:
And when it was over, Spoelstra said some in the Heat locker room were moved to tears.
"Just to come up short again and again, it hurts," [Chris] Bosh said. "We all want to win. We all want to win very badly."
Bosh also told ESPN's Brian Windhorst that while he wasn't among the players who were crying, he was nearly in tears after yet another close loss.
Wade? He took a different, snottier, approach. From the AP:
"The Miami Heat are exactly what everyone wanted, losing games," Wade said. "The world is better now because the Heat is losing."
Oh, stop it. As if you didn't have any idea last summer that NBA fans would react poorly to you flexing and preening for the cameras, promising championships three months before training camps even started.
What's more important is this astonishing lack of clutch play from Miami's troika of LeBron James(notes), Wade and Bosh. All three had exemplary clutch statistics in the seasons leading up to 2010-11, but in shots taken with less than 10 seconds to go in the fourth quarter or overtime, with Miami trailing by three or fewer points, the Heat have gone 1 for 18 this season. A falloff like that is remarkable and just about unprecedented in recent NBA history.
With the win, the Bulls have moved percentage points ahead of Miami in the Eastern Conference standings while sweeping the teams' season series three to nil.
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