Before Heat forward Chris Bosh suffered an abdominal strain in Miami's 95-86 Game 1 win in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Indiana Pacers, the Heat were a strong favorite for the finals.
But since Bosh went down, the Heat are 0-2, and the two losses are stirring controversy in South Beach due to the team's unexpected struggles.
The Heat lost by three to the Pacers in the final seconds of Game 2, but the Pacers embarrassed the Bosh-less Heat in Game 3 on Thursday night, winning 94-75 in Indianapolis.
Thursday night's loss had tempers flaring between guard Dwyane Wade and head coach Erik Spoelstra. In the third quarter, the Heat scored just 12 points. Spoelstra approached Wade, and the guard clearly did not want to hear anything his coach had to say. Wade had to be separated from Spoelstra.
If Wade continues to play like he did in Game 3, shooting 2-for-13 from the field, the Heat's offseason will be starting much sooner than they anticipated. But it can't all be Wade and Spoelstra contributing to the Heat's problems.
There's also this season's MVP, LeBron James, who is averaging 27.1 points a game and, for a change, hasn't been the main focus in the past 48 hours. James, however, continues to produce very little in the second half and at the end of games. He was 2-for-8 in the second half of Game 3, and he isn't helping a team without Bosh or Wade win key games.
Then there is Shane Battier, who played 23 minutes in Game 3 but failed to score. He shot six 3s but couldn't hit any of them.
The Heat are also not getting any support from their bench. Mike Miller, James Jones, Ronny Turiaf and Norris Cole all played at least 10 minutes in the game, with Turiaf the leading scorer with just five points and eight rebounds.
But go ahead — make the call. Who is most to blame for the Heat's struggles?
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