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Heat Struggling Against Playoff Teams

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LeBron James

MIAMI, FL – APRIL 4: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat dunks against the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 4, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat should probably not use any cash in the next few days because every time they see green lately, they lose it.

Tuesday night’s game was the second in as many days that saw the Heat go down to the Boston Celtics. The Heat played Tuesday’s game closer than the previous one, but the Heat never really closed the deal as every time they got close, Boston would turn up the defensive pressure.

LeBron James finished with 36 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Miami, which got 20 from Dwyane Wade and 18 from Mario Chalmers. Chris Bosh finished with 13 on 5-for-13 shooting for Miami, which has gone 5-5 in its last 10 games.

While those stats are good, the Heat need the Big Three in 20 points across the board most nights to really compete at a high level. Of course shooting the ball well will also clear up much of the Heat’s most recent ills.

In Tuesday’s Celtics game, the Heat was 39-87 from the field, or 44.8 percent. The Heat was just 8-18, or 44.4 percent from behind the three-point line.

Breaking down the Big Three, they missed 32 shots in the game and were 1-5 from behind the three-point line. The Big Three shot 43.8 percent from the field against the Celtics. And while the Celtics were turning up the pressure, Miami’s defense sagged again.

Miami’s defense allowed Boston to shoot 60.6 percent from the field and 64.3 percent from behind the three-point line. Four Celtics players had at least seven rebounds in the game and point guard Rajon Rondo again abused the Heat’s lack of point guard ability by finishing with 15 assists and 18 points.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has struggled to find the right lineup combination and the team doesn’t look like it’s interested in playing right now and is solely focused on the playoffs.

“To give up 115 points on our home floor, that’s not our style. And we’re being made to feel uncomfortable right now. That’s really the residual of the last three weeks or so,” Spoelstra said. “This is probably the one silver lining out of it, is our group, staff and players, we’re getting to know each other now on the level that is needed for us to prepare for the playoffs.”

On the bright side, if the NBA playoffs started today, the Miami Heat would face the Philadelphia 76ers in a repeat of last year’s first round matchup. This season, Miami has owned Philadelphia, beating them all four times the teams have played.

After that, Miami would likely draw either the winner of the Indiana vs. Orlando matchup or the winner of the Celtics vs. Hawks. Given the way the Celtics are playing lately, the Heat would probably prefer to see the Hawks in the second round.

Still, there are ten games left in the regular season, including two against the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls and one more game against Boston.

The Heat also has easy wins against the Charlotte Bobcats, two against the Washington Wizards, and a game against the Raptors down the stretch.

Theoretically, the Heat could get hot anytime now and reel off enough victories to take the number one seed from Chicago. But given the wear and tear on Wade, James, and Bosh, it might be a secondary goal as the time to rest the stars may be at hand.

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