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'Unacceptable': Heat befuddled by 1-5 skid

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm •  Published: March 15, 2014
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MIAMI (AP) — Something is wrong with the Miami Heat. They just can't seem to diagnose what the malady is.

And to them, that's the worst part of this abysmal stretch.

Losers in five of their last six games, the first time they've been on a slide like that in three years, the Heat know that their odds of catching Indiana for the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference or securing home-court throughout the entirety of the NBA playoffs — which wound up paying huge dividends during their march to a second straight title a year ago — are dwindling with every defeat right now.

The latest loss came Friday, 111-107 to a Denver team that is almost certainly going to miss the postseason.

"Something is off, obviously," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said.

"Just not playing well," offered four-time MVP LeBron James.

Both of those statements can't be argued. But with a month left in the regular season, and 19 games to play, this is hardly the ideal time for the Heat (44-19) to go on a pronounced slide.

"Five out of six, to our standards, that's unacceptable," forward Chris Bosh said. "We know we're better than this. We have to do a better job. We have to have better urgency. That's all it is. That's all it's about. When we come with the urgency, when we come with that into the game that we play, we can't be beaten. But if we don't, these past couple weeks, that's what happens."

It hasn't even been two weeks since things looked decidedly different for the Heat. James scored a career-high 61 points to lead Miami over Charlotte, the Heat had won eight straight and 14 of 16 to that point and were starting to make a run at the best record in the NBA.

Not anymore.

James made his first eight 3-point shots in that Charlotte game; he's 5 for 23 from beyond the arc since, averaging 20.2 points over the six games, well below his usual standards. No Heat starter has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in a game since Feb. 23. And since March 4 — the day this 1-5 slide started for Miami — the Heat rank 24th leaguewide in 3-point shooting, 26th in scoring and 28th in rebound differential.

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