Heat come out of big test with incomplete grade

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This was to be the big test. We were going to finally really figure some things out about the Miami Heat.

They had 11 consecutive games against quality teams – every one of them headed to the playoffs. Plenty of contenders in the mix. Finally we would see the Heat against the best.

They finished 5-6.

That is not a passing grade.

Well, it wouldn’t be, except the grade is incomplete. There were flashes from this team — they are the Lakers one loss since the All-Star break, they beat the San Antonio Spurs. Even in their losses, there were moments where you saw the potential of this team and its three stars.

There is no mistaking the fact the last 11 games did not go as hoped for the Heat, they again failed to meet their own lofty expectations. Those 11 games also made it clear the Heat are still figuring things out. The inconsistencies on the court are evidence. The questions is can those issues be remedied by the start of the playoffs in less than a month?

Chris Bosh told Brian Windhorst at ESPN he thinks they learned from this rough stretch.

“It’s been a tough stretch, a lot of ups and downs,” said Chris Bosh, who contributed his fifth consecutive double-double in the win with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

“After the smoke cleared, I think we’ve been better and are a better group now. We’ve seen a little bit of everything. We’ve seen the highs, we’ve seen the controversy, we’ve seen a bunch of different things that we’re going to see again. So when it rears its head again we’ll be prepared.”

It’s one thing to say they have learned a lesson and another entirely to put those lessons into action — this Heat team talked big and has said a lot of things it has not backed up. Some things are getting better, but it’s a mixed bag. For example their half court offense improved (largely due to Bosh) but their defense has not been consistent.

All that doesn’t mean the Heat players and coaches are wrong. They are still figuring it out. And if they do, this team will not have 5-6 stretches.