Don’t know if you heard, but the Heat have lost five in a row. I think that made the news somewhere.
Just like it did earlier this season when the Lakers lost four in a row. Or three in a row two other times.
Now the Lakers have won 8 in a row heading into Miami. Kobe Bryant said there is a fundamental difference between the Lakers struggles and Heat struggles, as reported by Kevin Ding at the Orange County Register.
“The difference between us is that we all know what our roles are,” Bryant said. “Everything is cemented. They’re still trying to figure that out.”
He’s right. You can question the Lakers execution, their commitment to the regular season, their passion. But even with a few new players the roles on that team are defined. The Lakers have always known who they are.
Miami is clearly still trying to figure out how who they are, especially in crunch time. They are trying to figure out how to get the best looks (although even when they get good looks they just seem to miss). Bosh wants the ball in a different spot on the floor; coach Erik Spoelstra is trying to find ways to get more motion in the half-court offense and more points in the paint. Their issues are more about their identity.
And the point in the season when you are supposed to be ramping up for the playoffs is a bad time to be having team identity issues.
That by no means makes the Lakers prohibitive favorites Thursday — the Heat are a desperate team, and there is nothing more dangerous is pro sports than a team desperate for a win.