Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets Game Recap: Nail Biter

(Miami, FL) — The Miami Heat (8-6) defeated the Charlotte Hornets (4-10), 94-93, on Sunday night at the American Airlines Arena.
It took a turnaround jump shot by Chris Bosh, two missed shots by Kemba Walker, and a failed Al Jefferson tip-in in the last 31 seconds of the game to give the Heat their second straight victory. Luol Deng scored 26 points to lead the Heat in scoring, while both Bosh and Mario Chalmers notched double-doubles to hand Charlotte their fifth straight loss.
Bosh hit the game-winning shot with 31.1 seconds remaining in the game on a turnaround fadeaway jump shot from the right baseline. He finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Chalmers contributed 20 points and 10 assists for just his third career double-double. Miami’s victory over Charlotte boosted their record to 4-1 in the latter game of back-to-back sets so far this season.
In regards to both Bosh and Chalmers’ strong offensive performances in recent games, the veteran center stated their play together i…

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Charlotte Hornets vs. Miami Heat 11/23/14: Video Highlights and Recap

Having lost four straight contests and seven of their last 10, the Charlotte Hornets looked to turn the tide against the Miami Heat on Sunday.

The Heat also entered the matchup in a bit of a slump, looking to find their identity in the wake of LeBron James’ departure from South Beach.

Watch the video for full highlights.

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Miami Heat News: Heat To Call Up Center Hassan Whiteside

According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Miami Heat are closing in on calling up center Hassan Whiteside of the Iowa Energy from the D-League.

Hearing that the Miami Heat are lining up Hassan Whiteside for an @nbadleague callup after Whiteside’s big-stats start with the @iowaenergy
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 23, 2014

Whiteside was a second round pick of the Sacramento Kings in 2010 and played 19 games for them over the span of two seasons. He has been sent up and down between the Energy and its parent team, the Memphis Grizzlies, who Whiteside has not played for yet in a regular season game.
In his only two games with the Energy this season, Whiteside is averaging 21.0 points, 15.5 rebounds, and 6.0 blocks. With the Heat’s apparent lack of interior defense and shaky big men due to injuries, the former Kings’ big man would be a valuable addition to Miami’s front line.
Note: Justin Hamilton‘s contract doesn’t become guaranteed until December 1, so if Whiteside does sign wit…

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Chris Andersen Injury: Updates on Heat Forward’s Ankle and Return

Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen suffered a sprained ankle against the Charlotte Hornets Sunday night and will miss the remainder of the game.    

The Heat’s official Twitter account passed along the news on the forward:

Andersen, 36, registered 2.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game prior to Sunday’s matchup. If he is forced to miss any time, the Heat would be without a key reserve after already having key players out.

Tom Haberstroh of and Christy Chirinos of the Sun Sentinel passed along their thoughts:

Dwyane Wade and Norris Cole missed the game with injuries of their own, via Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Not having Andersen on the court would further deplete the already thin lineup against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.  


Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.


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Charlotte Hornets vs. Miami Heat: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

The Charlotte Hornets (4-9) will look to avoid a fifth straight loss when they square off against the Miami Heat (7-6) Sunday night. 

Owners of the league’s sixth-least efficient offense, according to, Charlotte has struggled to put the ball in the basket, shooting 43.4 percent from the field (No. 25 overall) and 34.5 percent from three (No. 19 overall).

The Hornets haven’t been able to get to the line, either, recording a free-throw rate of just .263 (No. 24 overall), according to Basketball-Reference.

Although Lance Stephenson has been a rebounding maven, grabbing a team-best 8.8 boards per game, he’s averaging a meager 9.8 points on 37 percent shooting from the field.

Miami, on the other hand, has been a touch more consistent, recording the NBA‘s 12th-best offensive rating (108.0) to date, per Basketball-Reference. The Heat have struggled on the defensive end, though, surrendering 107.3 points per 100 possessions, good for No. 21 overall. 

However, Miami may be without the services of Dwyane Wade for the sixth straight game after he missed Saturday’s contest with a left hamstring strain. 

You can catch all the action at 6 p.m. ET on Sun Sports (Miami), Sports South (Charlotte) or NBA TV (National). 

Keep it locked here on Bleacher Report throughout the night for real-time updates, highlights and analysis of all things Hornets-Heat. 

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Miami Heat: What We Know About the Post-LeBron James Era So Far

After racing out to a 3-0 start, the Miami Heat’s transition into the post-LeBron James era seemed to be going quite smoothly. With a reinvigorated Dwyane Wade and highly efficient Chris Bosh leading the team, the Heat appeared more than capable of competing for their fifth consecutive Eastern Conference title.

But following Thursday night’s 110-93 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, it has become clear that the 6-6 Heat have yet to find their identity. With no playmaker on the roster close to the caliber of LeBron, Miami is struggling to create offense. After averaging a respectable 102.2 points per game with LeBron at the helm last year, the Heat currently rank 21st in the league with 97.1 points per game.

Having grown accustomed to being facilitators in the LeBron-led offense of the past four seasons, it will take some time for Bosh and Wade to readjust to being the focal points of the offense.

After looking spry and rejuvenated in the first eight games of the season, Wade’s injury-riddled ways quickly resurfaced when he strained his left hamstring against the Indiana Pacers. While he sat out the last four games, the Heat limped to a 1-3 record and have sorely missed Wade’s 19.8 points and team-leading 6.4 assists per game.

Bosh, the team’s scoring leader, raced out to 25.7 points per game on 47.9 percent shooting through the first three games and seemed to be worth every penny of his max contract. But since the initial three-game win streak, Bosh’s average has dropped to 20.6 points per game while shooting a career-worst 42.6 percent from the field.

Despite the early struggles of the Heat’s “Big Two,” there is still plenty for Miami to be excited about.

Norris Cole, the fourth-year point guard who has backed up Mario Chalmers the past three years, is a new member to the starting lineup. While Cole continues to struggle shooting at an efficient clip (41.7 percent), his energy and defensive pressure have been welcome additions to the starting unit. Equally important, Chalmers has thrived as a role player, averaging career highs in points (13.4) and field-goal percentage (45.9).

Losing the best player in the world to free agency creates an impossible void to fill, but free-agent acquisition Luol Deng has played as well as Miami could have hoped for. Known as one of the most consistent veterans in the league, Deng plays lockdown defense on the opponents’ best wing every night and is averaging 14.2 points on 48.4 percent shooting.

Free agent Shawne Williams has been a big surprise, averaging career highs in points (11.0), minutes (28.5), rebounds (5.1) and field-goal percentage (49.4). And most importantly, Williams has been able to stretch the floor for an Erik Spoelstra offense that relies heavily on spacing. Shooting 50.9 percent from the three-point line, Williams needs to continue to hit shots for the Heat to be successful.

With Shabazz Napier slowly gaining his footing and veterans Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts settling into Spoelstra’s system, the Heat have a higher ceiling than most people realize. Combine that with playing in the Eastern Conference, where sub-.500 basketball is good enough to make the playoffs, and Miami should have no problem getting in.

However, if the Heat actually want to make a deep playoff run, significant adjustments need to be made.

Currently ranked last in rebounding with 36.8 per game, the Heat must improve at boxing out to prevent second-chance opportunities. Even though the Heat were also ranked last in rebounding the past two seasons, Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald (subscription required) points out that “James’ long list of skills allowed the Heat to mask a lot of its weaknesses.”

The low rebounding totals are clearly a consequence of Spoelstra’s frequent small-ball lineups. But even with a height disadvantage, the Heat can’t continue to allow their opponents to rebound 24.7 percent of their own misses.

“I don’t think we’re as talented as years past, and we’re going to have to make up for it in toughness,” Bosh said in September, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel

Rebounding, a statistic that’s purely effort-based, will need to become an area of strength for the Heat to be successful.

Now playing without LeBron, the lack of a go-to playmaker or scorer places an even greater importance on ball movement. Ranked 12th in the league with 21.8 assists per game, the Heat need to space the floor, drive to the basket and kick the ball out to shooters. Lacking a dominant low-post threat, the Heat will need to rely on excellent perimeter shooting and San Antonio Spurs-like ball movement.

With a healthy Wade, an efficient Bosh, improved rebounding and consistent play from the supporting cast, there’s no reason to think that the LeBron-less Heat can’t finish in the top four of the Eastern Conference. A fifth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals seems unlikely. But with the Cleveland Cavaliers struggling and the Chicago Bulls being without Derrick Rose, anything is possible.

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Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

After hanging in for 47 minutes, the Orlando Magic couldn’t withstand Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers late. They fell to the Miami Heat at home, 99-92. 

Bosh was feeling it all night, but reached another gear late in the fourth quarter. He finished 32 points on 13-of-20 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds, while Mario Chalmers shot 10-of-16 and finished with 24 and eight assists. 

Three-point shooting is what stood out for the Heat, going 12-of-26 from beyond the arc, compared to Orlando’s putrid 3-of-16 clip. 

Nikola Vucevic posted his career-high in points tonight, going up against Shawne Williams mostly, scoring 33 and hauling down 17 rebounds. He and Elfrid Payton stood out as difference-makers, the latter coming away with five steals in 22 minutes. 

Now 7-6, Miami inches closer to the division-leading Washington Wizards. Its next matchup comes Sunday at 6 p.m. ET against the Charlotte Hornets. The Magic fall to 6-9, and take on the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers Monday at Quicken Loans Arena.

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Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic 11/22/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The slumping Miami Heat looked to get themselves back on track on Saturday night when they took on the Orlando Magic. The Heat had dropped four of their last five games and faced an athletic young Magic roster that had won two of its last three. 

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Lethargic Cavaliers Face Steeper Struggles Than LeBron James’ Heat in 2010-11

WASHINGTON D.C. — The past is prelude, and that can sometimes serve as comfort. It’s given the Cleveland Cavaliers a cushion. It’s been the primary reason that much of the national media, which mauled the Miami Heat for their sluggish start to the 2010-11 season, have been preaching patience as this latest so-called superteam stumbles out of the starting gate.

That, however, can become a crutch, an assumption that everything will be all right, merely because in a somewhat similar circumstance, it has been once before. That assumption is dangerous, since it may also be wrong.

LeBron James doesn’t believe that any outcomes are assumed, certainly not without the work, and yet even he has commonly drawn upon comparisons to the adversity he experienced four years earlier. He did so again Friday morning, when asked how he balances perspective about the process with his desire for more immediate success.

“It’s my biggest test,” he said. “My patience isn’t… I have a low tolerance for things of this nature. So it’s something I’m working on as well. Which I knew from the beginning that was going to be my biggest test, to see how much patience I got with the process. What helps me out is I’ve been through it before. But at the same, I’m a winner, and I want to win, and I want to win now. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not down the line, I want to win now. So it’s a fine line for me. But I understand what we’re enduring right now.” 

Later, in a 91-78 loss to the currently clearly superior Washington Wizards, a national television audience got a better sense of exactly what that is, and it’s not exactly, what James has gone through before. The Cavaliers are enduring the effects of a lack of cohesion, and an absence of confidence in each other. And, at this point, it’s officially more concerning than anything that long-ago Heat team went through.

For starters, that team actually started 7-4, not 5-6 as the Cavaliers have, even though everyone only remembers that Miami slipped to 9-8 on a deflating night in Dallas. That Miami team had three blowout victories in its first five games. This Cavaliers squad has had just one, in its eighth contest, against Atlanta. That Miami team didn’t lose for a third time by double digits until its 41st outing, on Jan. 13, even though it was without two of its top five projected players, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem, for most of that time. This Cavaliers squad, which has lost one rotation guy (Matthew Dellavedova) has already lost by 19, 13 and nine, with only a Dion Waiters garbage-time jumper saving it from a double-digit defeat against Denver.

That Miami team didn’t look as lethargic, and its players didn’t look like they loathed each other, as this team and these players appear to at times. Things were messy, for sure, especially as the three established stars, adjusting to redefined roles, tripped over one another, but that never seemed to be from a lack of earnest effort.

Which brings us to Friday.

When these Cavaliers brought all their worst basketball behavior.

“Obviously, right now, we’re struggling, and we’re a little bit in the dark,” coach David Blatt said. “And we got to find our way out.”

Blatt spoke of how the defense, which has been an issue, was good enougheven though John Wall (28 points, six rebounds, seven assists) repeatedly torched Kyrie Irvingbut how the offense, which had produced point totals of 110, 118, 122 and 127 during a recent four-game winning streak, had gone awry. He referred to “irresponsible play with the ball,” including several fast-break situations where the Cavaliers couldn’t even get a shot (“not high-level basketball”). He bemoaned the tendency for the ball and bodies to stop moving after the denial of the first offensive action.

“That’s not what we’ve been doing,” Blatt said. “We’ve got to get back to doing what we were doing.”

Certainly, they won’t win anything significant by doing many of the things they did Fridayand yet, some of the errors are expected by now.

Such as Dion Waiters, part of a bench that shot a combined 3-for-16, taking three dribbles and a stepback 20-footer without ever looking at James to his right. Such as Waiters going 1-on-4 on one break, and later getting rejected by Kevin Seraphin, rather than noticing that Irving or Marion were running with him.

Such as Shawn Marion making a lazy pass, and Irving making an equally lazy run to the ball, which led to a Wall steal and dunk. Such as Kevin Love getting only eight shots, so ignored at times that he sometimes forced the action, even in transition opportunities, once wildly hooking one shot off the backboard and later plowing into Bradley Beal.

Such as Irving jamming up the half-court offense by dribbling and dribbling and dribbling some more, never getting the ball to anyone else before jacking up a contested corner jumper.

Such as James shooting under 50 percent for the eighth time in 11 games this season.

He was more efficient when he shot dirty and disappointed looks. He wasn’t the only one to sigh and slump his shouldersLove looked absolutely exasperated at times, especially on a second-quarter play when he was calling for the correct running of a play, and then the ball, only to watch Tristan Thompson bulldoze the lane for an offensive foul.

Still, the Cavaliers will take their cues from James, who has been more careful with his body language in recent years, taking that as one of the primary lessons from veteran mentors, most notably Ray Allen. But James couldn’t hide it Friday. He strolled back on one possession. After another transition miss, he hardly budged at all. He took a standstill three. In those moments, he didn’t appear to be soothed much by memories of how everything worked itself out in Miami. His admitted low tolerance for “things of this nature” seemed to be trumping his understanding of the need for patience with the process.

Blatt sat him for the final 1:24, with a game against red-hot Toronto on tap for Saturday in Cleveland. But he only cooled slightly by the time he met with the media. He said he could not explain the team’s lack of energy. He couldn’t think of a single lineup that had shown cohesiveness. He said they all needed to work on their body language, starting with himself.

“Right now, I’m frustrated,” James said. “Tomorrow I’ll be OK. It’s part of the competitive nature of who I am. It’s going to be a challenge, I knew that. I’m frustrated obviously right now, but tomorrow’s a new day. … We have some work to do.”

Then he spent the next 10 minutes facing his locker, sometimes shaking his head, sometimes pressing a towel to it, sometimes extending his arms across the top shelf, all while rarely looking up.

Maybe things will look up soon.

But he will need to look for different answers than he found in Miami.

This is a decidedly different situation.

In Miami, he had a coach who had NBA experiencetwo playoff seasons as the head manwith the organization’s full commitment. Pat Riley’s unconditional support gave that coach an opportunity the space to find his footing, even in the face of intense media pressure. And a 9-8 start turned into a 21-1 stretch.

Will Blatt, who acknowledged that some of his European teams have started slow, get the backing he needs to make his way? And to make his team believe in him?

In Miami, James had proven championship partners, starting with Dwyane Wade, to help him chart the course, players who ultimately were more concerned with collective goals, even if those ambitions came at an individual cost.

Does he have those here? Can Irving be one? Or Love another? Or is that too much to expect of two guys who, in nine combined seasons, have never made the playoffs? Can they, and their teammates, table all their losing habits?

In Miami, James had teammates who made it a mission to get him the ball in the proper spots, so he could lift his percentages, and by extension, the group as well.

Will he start getting those quality shots, consistently, here?

“Guys got to be willing to pass the ball ahead, to make good cuts, to set good screens, to move hard to their spots, to read overplays and use press release, and cut and backcut again, and keep moving,” Blatt said. “I told you, a week, 10 days ago, we were scoring the heck out of the ball. It’s not a different group.”

No, it’s not different from the Cleveland group that recently won four straight.

But it’s different than those Miami teams.

All of them. Even the first one. Even 2010-11. Even 9-8. Some of the frustration may be the same, but the solutions won’t be. There won’t truly be comfort until James finds a few of those.

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Miami Heat Must Find Identity Outside Dwyane Wade

In order to move on from LeBron James’ departure, the Miami Heat need an identity. Less than 15 games into a season simultaneously teeming with promise and problems, they’ve found one. A familiar one.

The wrong one.

Dwyane Wade has, once again, become the Heat’s performance lifeline. Long the face of the franchise, James relegated him to sidekick duty for four years. In his absence, Wade’s face would still be there, but it would be Chris Bosh carrying Miami into a delicate era, reprising the role he played in Toronto as his team’s primary barometer.

But that hasn’t happened to start 2014-15. These Heat are instead turning back the clock and not in a good way. It’s 2009-10 all over again. Their identity begins and ends with Wade. And just as that wasn’t enough then, it isn’t enough now.


Wade’s Presence Is Being Felt…

Statistically speaking, it is enough—when Wade is on the floor.

The Heat are scoring at a rate of 110.6 points per 100 possessions with Wade in the game, the equivalent of the league’s second-best offense, according to (subscription required). They’re hitting a higher percentage of their shots overall (48.2 percent) and even their three-pointers (38.3 percent). Both marks would rank among the Association’s six best.

Bosh has played particularly well alongside Wade. His offensive efficiency climbs by nearly 10 points per 100 possessions beside him, and his shooting percentages are up across the board, per

And then there’s the matter of Wade himself. He’s averaging 19.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game on 50.8 percent shooting. The 33-year-old is also posting the team’s highest player efficiency rating (23.9), and his impact on the offensive end cannot be overstated.

Both the ball and his teammates move better with him running the show. The Heat lack a true and established point guard, but Wade has served his squad well as the top playmaker.

Around 65.7 percent of their buckets come off assists when he’s in the game, which would rank second among all teams, according to Wade himself is assisting on 41.4 percent of his teammates’ baskets when on the floor, which would not only be a career high but ranks fifth among qualified players, behind only John Wall (44.5), Chris Paul (47.2), Rajon Rondo (48) and the injured Ricky Rubio (54.2).

Dan Devine of Yahoo Sports offered even more praise for Wade’s offensive game earlier this month:

The impact of Wade’s facilitating extends beyond just the impressive number of dimes he’s dropping, too. Per SportVU, Wade’s third in the league in “free throw assists,” or passes leading to a trip to the line where the shooter made at least one freebie (1.3 per game) and 19th in secondary, or “hockey,” assists (1.4 per game).

It’s great that Wade’s happy to have the ball in his hands, but we’re betting Spoelstra’s more excited by how his increased willingness to get it out of them has bolstered Miami’s attack.

It would seem that the Heat, then, are just fine leaning on Wade more than anyone else.

And they are.

When he’s actually playing.

Which he hasn’t been.

So they haven’t been fine.


…But His Absence is Being Felt More

Frequent rest and relaxation is a reality when it comes to Wade’s physical maintenance. He’s never gone an entire season without missing at least five games, and he sat out an average of 16 per season over the last four years.

Such upkeep became an obstacle even with James in the lineup. Now that he’s gone, it’s a biting burden that is both unavoidable and irreversibly harmful. Playing him 70-plus games isn’t an option; Wade is going to miss time. When he does, it’s going to hurt.

It just shouldn’t be this damaging.

“When you don’t have that guy on the court, it’s a huge void that you have to fill,” Bosh said, per the Sun Sentinel‘s Shandel Richardson. “I think it’s both a good and a bad thing. We want him out there, but at the same time our rookies are gaining a ton of experience and our new guys are gaining a ton of experience. It’s forcing the chemistry to happen a lot sooner.”

We’ll have to take Bosh’s word for it at the moment, because the numbers don’t support his claims.

Miami is 1-3 in the four games Wade has missed to date. Two of those losses have come against supposedly inferior teams in the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks, and the average margin of defeat through these losses is 11.7 points.

While the Heat’s defense has allowed fewer points per 100 possessions without Wade on the floor, it’s been substantially worse on the offensive end, per

When he’s on the bench, they’re running the equivalent of a bottom-10 offense that would rank 19th in field-goal percentage (44.7). They’re also coughing the ball up 17.7 percent of the time without him, which would make them the fourth-most turnover-prone team in the league.

That shouldn’t happen.

Improving without Wade will never be an option, to be sure. There will always be some kind of adverse statistical drop-off on the offensive end. That the Heat were a better point-piling contingent without him last year, per, only validates’ James’ profound ability to carry a team on his own. Wade’s absences become a bigger problem without him.

But that’s where Bosh is supposed to come in. He’s being paid like the franchise cornerstone to give Miami that identity outside Wade and James. He’s just not playing up to snuff.

Through his first 12 games, Bosh is averaging 20.6 points on a career-worst 42.6 percent shooting. Both the Heat’s offense and defense are also performing better without him on the floor, according to, and he’s still predominantly living on the perimeter; more than 71 percent of his field-goal attempts are coming outside eight feet, where he’s shooting just 40 percent.

This is not the Bosh whom Miami bargained for over the summer. He’s facing more defensive pressure overall, but 57 percent of his shots have been open or wide-open looks. That, at the very least, is comparable to last year, when 60 percent of his shots were similarly classified. His shooting efficiency shouldn’t be hemorrhaging like it is now.

Moreover, this isn’t something the Heat can afford to have happen long term, as Bleacher Report’s Tom Sunnergren explains:

Outside of Bosh, Miami’s superstar appeal is flawless. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra has already proven that, with sufficient talent, he can craft a system on both sides of the floor that allows his players to thrive. The city of Miami has demonstrated that it’s an attractive destination for the young and super-rich. Pat Riley can build a fine supporting cast.

The remaining puzzle piece is that the player on Miami’s roster making superstar money starts playing like it. When he re-signed with the Heat this summer, Bosh was billed as a bridge between one era of Heat champs and the next. Things can change fast, but at the moment, the center appears to be a liability.

Free agency will be a huge factor as the Heat move forward. Their financial commitments are flexible and that, along with an expected cap eruption in 2016, gives them the means to add prime-time players over the next few summers.

To really enter that conversation, though, the Heat need more than cash and Wade. To really compete for something more than a lottery finish this year, they need to be more than him.

Other players aside from Bosh have to step up in his absence and return. Luol Deng, Mario Chalmers and Shawne Williams—each of whom is averaging in double figures while shooting better than 45 percent from the floor—need to augment their production and aggression when he’s on the bench.

Rookie Shabazz Napier must morph into an offensive bellwether who can effectively direct the offense when Wade cannot. Josh McRoberts needs to remain healthy and shoot better than 16.7 percent from deep. 

Something, anything, different needs to happen.


An Identity Search Run Afield

There is no surviving an 82-game season the way these Heat are playing now. Their current model puts them at the mercy of Wade’s health, paving the way for more losses like those to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, when they allowed 110 points, let up 13 three-pointers and dished out just 11 assists on 30 baskets.

“Not a whole lot to say,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after his team fell to Los Angeles, via the Miami Herald‘s Joseph Goodman. “We got blitzed.”

Blitzed, yes.

Blindsided, no.

Nothing the Heat face now is shocking. They knew the stakes when James left, and now the satisfaction of admirably retooling the roster following his exit has subsided. It’s since been replaced by the uneasiness of knowing that Wade’s abilities have given them an identity his availability cannot sustain—which, really, is the same as having no identity at all.


*Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference and, and are accurate as of games played on Nov. 20, 2014. Salary information via ShamSports.

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