Evidently, the dude in the stands forgot to hold up his four fingers … and Wednesday’s memo didn’t work
The Heat built a seemingly insurmountable lead in Miami on Thursday night. The only question as the third quarter began was the margin of victory. Miami led by 24 points following a James dunk when things turned around. Jason Richardson and Ryan Anderson paced the comeback, and Dwight Howard dominated the glass.
James and Chris Bosh missed last-second three-point attempts after J.J. Redick drained two free throws to give the Magic a three-point lead with just under 10 second remaining.
Some would believe this to be just another bump in the road to James’ coronation following a win in the NBA Finals, but there’s a larger issue at play. Remember, the Heat failed to sustain a huge lead in their last home game against the Knicks. They built a 15-point lead, but collapsed late. In fact, Miami has dropped three of their last four games (including a road game in Chicago) and four of their past seven.
The next two weeks present a number of challenges. This was the first game of a back-to-back with a roadie in San Antonio on tap for Friday night. Then, the Heat opens a six-game homestand.
Look at the opponents: Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles (Lakers), Memphis, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
For those keeping score at home —- that’s seven straight playoff opponents. Oh, wait. Add a road date in Atlanta and a home tilt against the Nuggets and you’re looking at nine straight would-be playoff opponents, including five upper-seed foes (top 4 in each conference).
Chicago has a more advantageous schedule down the stretch and sits just 1.5 games behind the Heat for second in the East.
Will James reign?