Still wondering if the Miami Heat are at all serious about the prospect of chasing Carmelo Anthony in summer free-agency?
The Miami dynasty as we know it is over. And in typical Heat fashion, you’re not sure if you should be assailing the team for its premature demise or passing Pat Riley a courtesy tissue for going where no man has dared to go before in constructing an NBA roster. The league’s most polarizing team continues to perplex, and that goes much further than the Heat’s 107-86 blowout home-court loss to San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of the NBA Finals Thursday night to now trail the series by an almost insurmountable 3-1 deficit.
Forget about X’s and O’s, for some unimaginable reason the Heat look like they simply lack passion in what one would think would be their defining moment. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and company have a chance to join Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, peer and contemporary each of them is often compared to, as the only superstar players to lead their team to three-straight NBA titles in nearly two decades.
What a time to apparently tire of physical exertion and emotional steam. James finished with 28 points and eight rebounds, but his signature was hardly on the game in a way the suddenly struggling two-time defending champion Heat needed it to be. You knew Miami was in trouble when James’ removed himself from the contest midway through the pivotal first quarter to run to the restroom to flush away whatever it was that ailing him.
If only things could have been so simple for the Heat, who lost every quarter but the meaningless fourth, suffered through a toxic 3-for-13 shooting performance from Wade and got just eight points and six assists from the overmatched backcourt combo of Mario Chalmers and Norris Coles.
The Heat have simply been unable to compensate for the Spurs’ precision and execution over the last two games, which they have surrendered by nearly an average margin of three touchdowns.
Miami had followed their last 13 postseason losses with resounding responses that ended in victory, but on this night there was little resistance and even less drama as the Spurs bolted out to a 55-36 halftime lead and never let up.
“They smashed us,” said James said. “Two straight home games got off to awful starts. They came in and were much better than us in these last two games. It’s just that simple. We put ourselves in a position where it is about making history.”
But now it’s the kind the Heat never saw forthcoming. No team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals, and the way the things have gone for the two-time defending champs over the last two games that trend isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
So what comes next for the Heat, who beyond a potential Game 5 closing game, face the prospect that James, Wade and Chris Bosh could as easily walk this summer as free-agents as the team could land Anthony.
Such are the dynamics of a star on star on star and now perhaps on star alliance, still there are times when all that star-power simply doesn’t resonate.