The star-studded Miami Heat know it is a crying shame they have struggled to win the close games and tears of frustration were shed in the locker room on Sunday after their 87-86 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
The Heat, whose signing of free agents LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade last summer raised expectations of a new super team in the NBA, failed at the buzzer again and lost their fourth game in a row as James and Wade missed last-gasp shots.
“We’ve got to be stubborn enough to continue to put ourselves in that position and find the resiliency to break through,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. “This is painful for every single one of us going through this, there are a couple of guys crying in the locker room. It is not a matter of ‘want,’ it is a matter of ‘doing.’”
Chicago (43-18), led by 27 points from guard Derrick Rose, moved past Miami (43-20) into second place in the Eastern Conference standings behind the Boston Celtics (46-15).
The pressure has been building on a Miami team that was expected to become an instant juggernaut. The trio have delivered strong numbers, with James averaging 26.2 points, Wade 25.4 and Bosh 18.3, but have failed to find the chemistry to turn their talents into crunch-time success.
Miami have now missed 13 consecutive shots when they had a chance to tie or lead a game in the last 10 seconds of regulation or overtime. James has missed four in this four-game losing streak.
“I told my team, I’m not going to continue to fail late in games,” James said after Sunday’s loss. “I put a lot of blame on myself t-onight. I told the guys that I just keep failing them late in games and I won’t continue to do that.”
Wade bristled when asked about the latest near-miss for a team that fans in other cities have delighted in watching them struggle.
“The Miami Heat are exactly what everyone wanted, losing games,” Wade said. “The world is better now because the Heat is losing.”
Despite their impressive overall record, the Heat dropped to 1-16 in games decided on the final possession and have a 1-9 mark against the NBA’s top five teams.