MIAMI (CBS4) – The Miami Heat have a few days off to lick their wounds from the Knicks defeat Sunday before heading into the toughest stretch this season.

The Heat play the Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Lakers over their next five games.

Combined, those teams have a winning percentage of .682, which is a bad news for the Heat who have downright struggled over the past few games.

“We’ve got to figure it out,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. “That’s why we continue to play these games. We continue to build habits. Hopefully, eventually we’ll turn the corner.”

The Heat are chasing the Boston Celtics for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are currently leading the Heat by a half game, which makes the upcoming stretch that much more crucial for the Heat.

“We’re getting better and that’s the frustrating thing,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’re not there yet and we need to understand that. So the next few weeks will be about continuing to grind away. We’ll be there again.”

The Heat had better hope the game doesn’t come down to the wire against a top flight team. The Heat are 5-11 in games decided by 5 points or less and are below .500 against teams with winning records.

“I guess I’m optimistic if you will. It doesn’t make it tougher,” Heat forward Chris Bosh said. “We’ll look at where we made our mistakes and move on. We have too many games and it’s getting too close to the end of the regular season to worry about stuff.”

But before fans begin to think about jumping off the bandwagon of the Heat, they should remember the Heat’s last championship year. Many said in 2005-2006 that the Heat couldn’t win the big game during the regular season.

While true, the regular season wins don’t amount to much in the playoffs and the Heat have a history of playing their best once the toughest games begin.

For the current Heat team, they better hope that they can pull that off or it will be a long off-season of questioning for Miami’s version of the “Big Three.”


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