They had it all going. They were slicing through the Magic defense like a hot knife through butter. Dwayne Wade and LeBron had 20+ points apiece and the Heat were in control, or so they thought. I guess someone forgot to tell the Heat that there's a 2nd half and the other team has a propensity for making 3's in bunches.
The Heat led by as many as 24 points in the 2nd half and the Magic's will looked broken. Who would know that a couple substitutions would make a huge difference for the Magic? The Magic put in PG Gilbert Arenas and PF Ryan Andersen and decided if they were going to go down, they were gonna go down with their best offensive group on the floor. They had Arenas and PG Jameer Nelson in at the same time, so SG Jason Richardson moved to the SF position. And up front they had Andersen and C Dwight Howard. That's when the excitement began.
With two PGs in the game, either Nelson or Arenas could initiate the offense and the other could go get his shot. This resulted in Nelson becoming extremely assertive on the offensive end. He was taking Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers to school anytime he wanted to. And when Nelson wasn't hitting shots, Arenas was. Arenas showed a flash of what made him one of the great scoring guards in the current NBA at one time when he hit back to back deep jumpers. Then you throw in two back-to-back 3's by Jason Richardson and what do you know, the Magic are back in the game.
When the game got tight, it looked like the Heat were in shock and disbelief. I thought to myself they can't let this happen. But the Heat did and they ended up losing to the Magic at home and blowing a 24 point lead. Three things stood out to me as to why the Heat lost this game. PF Chris Bosh has disappeared again for them. He couldn't throw the basketball into the ocean in the 2nd half and give LeBron and D Wade some help. For the Heat to be as good as some think they could be, he cannot disappear like that in big games. This is the 2nd game in a week's time where he has disappeared (7 points on 1-18 FG and 5-6 FTs against Chicago last week in a loss).
The Heat seem not to have a killer instinct at times. They believed the game was over, so they eased off the gas pedal. Good teams don't do that. When championship teams have teams down, they are supposed to apply the knockout blow to finish the game. The Heat haven't applied a knockout blow all season to a team above .500 in the NBA. They've only beaten up on the worst teams in the league.
But, above all, their biggest issue is the PG position. A lot of people were saying that bringing in Bibby was the missing piece for this team. Well, what a lot of people choose to ignore was that Bibby isn't the greatest defensive player and he is a liability down the stretch. I love his shot-making ability, but down the stretch, you need defense and shot-making and he only makes shots, he doesn't defend. If the Heat could somehow put what Chalmers and Bibby do into one PG, they would have the perfect PG. Chalmers is a great defensive PG, but down the stretch, he can't get you the big shot you need. I counted 4 wide-open shots he missed down the stretch.
Its because of these reasons that I do not think the Heat will win the Championship this year. Heck, I had them going to the NBA Finals, but that even looks shaky because they haven't beat Boston or Chicago once this year. They just simply have too many holes to fill with too little time. Maybe next year they can be creative and get the pieces they need.