The Miami Heat don't look like the team we knew last season. Find out what's been holding them back from wins with our NBA odds analyst who shares predictions of what's to come.
If I told you in June that the Heat team would shrivel down to an NBA disappointment just six months after they played for the Championship, I’m not sure you would believe me, but that’s exactly what has happened to the Heat this season.
Let’s review what happened to the Heat over the past few months, and what it could mean for your NBA picks with their squad as they finish of the 2014-year.
Heat’s Not-so-Hot Defense
This is the first time in Miami history that four straight opponents have shot 54 percent or better against the Heat’s defense. They are currently sitting in 26th position in defensive efficiency, and rank dead last in the league on the boards.
What’s causing the monstrosity on the defensive end for the Heat team? Their strategy could be the main problem. Head Coach Erik Spoelstra likes to you the crazy complicated “everybody on a string” trapping defense that can be a little bit troublesome for the inexperienced rookies and signees that are new to the team and seeing a lot of playing time.
Without Dwyane Wade on the floor, the Heat has had to use their rookies a lot more in the rotation. Rookies who can make rookie mistakes in a defensive like theirs.
Chris Bosh spoke about the Heat’s defensive struggles: “We’ve had speeches, we’ve had demonstrations, we’ve had walkthroughs, we’ve had practices and still nothing happens.”
However, this defensive is incredibly effective and has proven to work for the Heat team in the past. Give it a little bit more time. This team is smart, and they will get it figured out and make it a benefactor in the second half of the season.
Key Player Setbacks
We all know the Heat suffered a huge loss in their roster when D-Wade suffered a hamstring injury about a month ago, but now he is back on the court as a starter and playing an average of 28 minutes in his games since his return. Unfortunately, until he gets back into full-swing motion and playing 35+ minutes per game, the Heat may still not be able to make up for his minutes lost on the floor. And at 32-year-old, his process of healing a hamstring injury could take longer than it would a younger player, so we may see him sitting on the bench for longer periods of time throughout the rest of 2014.
Chris Bosh is having to step up for the first time in his career as the team leader. He is doing an excellent job, leading in points (21.9), rebounds (8.4) and blocks (.8) for his Heat squad. However being a leader doesn’t mean carrying the team on your back for every minute you play. It’s an impossible task in this game, and that’s exactly what he has been doing throughout this portion of the season.
What to Expect Next
The Miami Heat team has seemed pretty predictable for NBA odds makers and sportsbooks. Every game they have won, they have covered ATS, and you see the same result with matched losses SU and ATS.
Right now in the season, Miami is seeing a little bit of excitement with the return of their superstar D-Wade, as they covered SUATS against two different teams ranked higher than them in the past week, but until they get their defense together, you can’t rely on them against huge offensive teams.
In the next couple of weeks, Miami will see teams with mediocre offenses that they can play with, but they won’t stand a chance against a mediocre offense and an aggressive stopping defense like their Dec. 19th matchup the Washington Wizards.
It could be smart to take the OVER on the totals in the games where defense won’t be seen from either team all night long. Take the OVER for their games against Denver and Utah as all three teams are ranked below 25 in defensive efficiency and score higher than 106 PPG.