The Miami Heat should be better than the Atlanta Hawks this season, even after losing LeBron James to the Cavaliers in free agency this past summer.
But a Heat team that finished 11th in the league in defensive efficiency last season ranks just 21st there now, and gave up 114 points to the Hawks during Friday night’s loss.
With James out of the picture, it’s up to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to step into a vocal leadership role with Miami this season. And since Wade sat out on Friday with a hamstring issue, Bosh was the one who discussed how poorly his team played defensively.
“We had too many breakdowns in our coverages. I think we guarded the pick-and-roll OK, for the most part. But after they kicked it out, our rotations, we weren’t there. It’s like we ran out of guys,” Chris Bosh said of the Heat’s defense, as he turned his attention to Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at AmericanAirlines Arena. …
“Whether it’s the coverages or just man-to-man defense, they’re blowing by us,” he said. “We’re not helping each other. Or we have no weak-side defense.
“It’s so many things, pick-and-rolls, side pick-and-rolls, one-on-one defense, pin downs, transition. We actually did a job on transition [against Atlanta]. We haven’t put it together yet. I guess it’s a process a little bit. I keep telling myself, ‘Keep myself sane.’ But eventually we’re going to have to turn the corner.”
Again, Wade was out in this particular matchup, so rotations were out of whack. But this is the same Hawks team that fell behind by as many as 35 points to the Cavaliers in the first half the very next night.
If Wade can remain healthy for the bulk of the season, I like this Heat team to finish among the top four teams in the East. The talent and continuity is certainly there to make that happen, but it all begins on the defensive end of the floor, and Bosh was right to point this particular aspect out.