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On October 29, the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat faced off in one of the most highly anticipated regular season games in NBA history. After a first half in which the Magic and Heat traded blows like a pair of heavyweights, things changed quickly at the onset of the third quarter. Miami tightened up their defense, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade caught fire from the perimeter, and — in the blink of an eye — an intense game between two rivals turned into a rout.
So much for a matchup living up to the hype. That was nearly a month ago.
My, how things have changed.
After a triumphant victory against the Magic, the Heat have looked mortal and are struggling with an 8-6 record. Injuries have taken their toll on Miami, sure, but this is a roster that looks lifeless and zombie-like. And with each loss, the shadow of president Pat Riley looms larger over head coach Erik Spoelstra. Cue Michael Corleone’s infamous quote from Godfather Part III.
So to preview the inner happenings of the Heat, I gathered the intelligent observations of Michael Wallace of the Heat Index. Formerly of the Miami Herald, Wallace has covered Miami for five seasons and knows what the deal is.
Wallace provides his opinion on Spoelstra’s future, the impact of the Heat losing Udonis Haslem for (possibly) the rest of the season, and more.
On Twitter, you said that the Miami Heat’s loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday was the worst loss you’ve seen in the five years you’ve covered the team. What was it about the game that made you feel that way?
When you weigh the talent level and expectations against the effort and performance the Heat played with against the Pacers, the disparity between those two sides was never greater in any of the games I’ve covered on this beat. That’s no knock against Indiana. But the Heat didn’t defend, didn’t play with passion, didn’t execute anything resembling offensive structure and really didn’t seem to take the loss as seriously, based on their postgame comments, as they probably should. Getting blown out at home by the Pacers simply isn’t acceptable for this team. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be.