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Why the Miami Heat’s Not Hot

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Why the Miami Heat’s Not Hot
 
by Jennifer Jordan
 
With the virtual implosion of the Miami Dolphins, sports fans in the Miami area probably find themselves seeking solace elsewhere. Turning their noses up at football, they look toward another sport: basketball. Unfortunately for these fans, the Miami Heat isn’t fairing much better than the Miami Dolphins. Still, on the Brightside, the Heat at least won’t go winless.
 
The struggles of the Heat have been in question since last season: what happened to make this once hot team so cold? Well, no one can know for sure, but we offer the following possibilities.
 
Dwayne Wade Still Not Back to His Old Self: After missing part of last season because of injury, the return of Dwayne Wade looked to be the spark the Heat needed. Almost, but not quite. In the previous two seasons, Wade has averaged over 27 points per game; this season, he is averaging only 20. Sure, 20 is still a nice average, but it’s not quite up to the standard Dwayne Wade is known for. He is also averaging less rebounds and less assists.
 
Shaquille O’Neal is No Longer a Dominating Force: There was a time when the man known as Shaq seemed nearly unstoppable: if he had the ball, he would score (well, as long as he wasn’t on the free throw line). These days, that’s not always the case. Part of this is because Shaq has – in basketball terms – gotten old; the other reason is he is always well guarded. Without him to score as many points, or more importantly pull down as many rebounds, the Heat can’t help but be hurting.
 
No One Shoots from the Outside…at Least Not Well: With Dwayne Wade driving down the lane and Shaquille O’Neal shooting from way inside, the Miami Heat is sans outside shooters. They no longer have James Posey or Jason Kapono. In short, they have trouble making three pointers. This hurts them even more when they are trying to come from behind. Having good outside shooters is essential to being a good team.
 
Last Year Still Haunts Them: Last year, to put it mildly, was a disappointment for the Miami Heat. They didn’t even break even on their record until March; they started slow and finished worse, getting swept by Chicago in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It was a championship hangover in the greatest sense of the term.
 
Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers: Yes, you guessed it: Miami tends to turn the ball over. In their recent loss to the Boston Celtics, Miami handed it over 24 times. Any team that has that many turnovers in a game may as well call it quits and become a bakery.