Heat is on Miami to bounce back after Game 3 fiasco
MIAMI - The Heat has been down in playoff series and the NBA Finals before so panic hasn't set in yet. But the two-time champs Wednesday sounded like a team in need of a visit from Dr. Phil.
Chris Bosh was angry after coach Erik Spoelstra's lengthy tape session that showed the defensive breakdowns in Tuesday's 111-92 loss that gave the Spurs a 2-1 series lead. Bosh used phrases like "lack of effort" and "lack of trust" and said it's the worst this group has played together.
Everyone in Miami is concerned about point guard Mario Chalmers' mental state. He is having a brutal series and it's affecting his confidence.
Spoelstra said the Heat "didn't show the necessary mental toughness" in Game 3. Spoelstra, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade all talked about having to "own" their mistakes and make immediate changes.
Game 4 is Thursday, and if the Heat doesn't bounce back, it could face elimination Sunday in San Antonio.
"You're always on edge in the postseason, but I don't want to be concerned at this point," James said. "We have to make the adjustments. We owned what we had to do in the film session and we'll come in with a better mind-set [Thursday night]. That doesn't mean it results in a win. But we have to play with a little bit more focus and a little bit more challenge."
The Heat has gone 47 straight playoff games without consecutive losses, the third-longest streak in NBA history. Miami has also won 13 consecutive playoff games after a loss.
The Spurs were on fire in Game 3, making 19 of their first 21 shots and set a Finals record by shooting 75.8 percent (25-for-33) in the first half. They led by double digits for all but 1:01 of the last 37:56 of the game.
It's highly unlikely the Spurs will shoot that well again, but Wade cautioned that the Heat can't have that mentality. "No, no, no, no," Wade said. "You don't chalk it up to 'Oh, they just shot well. It was their night. It wasn't our night.' No. You have to do something about it. Each person individually has to look at themselves in the mirror and see what they can do better and as a group see what we can do better to all help each other. Yeah, they shot the ball well, but they shot the ball well because of the mistakes that we made. We've got to own up to it."
The Heat has been in this position before, just last year in fact. The Spurs trounced Miami by 36 in Game 3 of the Finals and led 2-1. But Miami won Game 4 by 16 to even the series and won it in seven games.
It's a different year and the Spurs appear to be more driven than last year, especially after giving the championship away in Game 6 with some missed free throws and the failure to secure a defensive rebound that ultimately led to a series-changing three by Ray Allen.
Now the heat is on Miami to show its championship mettle or a three-peat will be in serious doubt.
"It was the worst game of the season, probably the worst game we've played together," Bosh said. "Hopefully that will be the last bad game we play."