THE ENDGAME misadventure of the Miami Heat in the regular season didn’t stop there. It carried over to the playoffs.
With less than two minutes to play in Game 4, the Heat looked poised to sweep the upset-conscious Philadelphia 76ers.
Instead, the Heat lost their poise and the game.
Lou Williams hit the go-ahead trey over the lunging Dwyane Wade with 8.1 seconds to play en route to an 86-82 victory for the 76ers.
It was just another endgame debacle for the Heat on the surface. Wade was cold on the idea.
“That shot right there didn’t beat us,” he said referring to Williams’s three-point basket.
Wade was right and wrong.
The Heat had another dismal start, trailing 16-28 after the first quarter. They were slow off the gates in every game of the series except for Game 2.
It is a 48-minute contest. Even with three superstars in the line-up, the Heat can’t afford to let their guards down especially in the playoffs.
A check-mark for Wade.
The Heat, banking on their superstar triumvirate of LeBron James, Wade and Chris Bosh, got back in the game and took control heading into the final minute.
A jumper by James and a tip-in by Wade gave the Heat an 82-76 lead, 1:35 to play.
But the 76ers scored the last 10 points as the Heat melted down the stretch.
Wade missed a shot after Jrue Holiday hit a triple over him to pull the 76ers within 81-82. James had his potential game-tying drive blocked by Elton Brand with 3.8 ticks left. The endgame malady continues for the Heat.
An x-mark for Wade.
While the Heat have other issues to address, their inability to win close games concerns their fans the most.
Numbers don’t lie.
According to endgame stats, James is only 1-for-6 in shots inside the last five seconds with a chance to tie or win the game throughout the season. Wade is 0-for-5 on those occasions.
Close games are the norms in the playoffs. The Heat need to solve the endgame puzzle if they want to advance