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Four better or worse

Tuesday night's loss to the Hawks meant the Heat has lost a season-worst four in a row, but does it really feel like a low point of the season?

Other than the loss to the Clippers, the losses have been, if this is allowed in sports, excusable.

Tuesday's was entirely winnable, and essentially came down to a couple poor plays on the Heat's part, but given how many drastic changes the Heat was attempting, it's understandable that there were some mistakes.

The pair of plays that probably cost the Heat the win were, first, the play where it appeared the Heat was, with 1:23 left in overtime, assuming the Hawks were calling a timeout. At least Dwyane Wade looked like he was awaiting a timeout, turned his back on the play, and Joe Johnson drove to the rim, found an open Jamal Crawford in the corner for a three-pointer than gave Atlanta an 87-84 lead.

The second play was with 23 seconds left, when Johnson fouled LeBron James on what appeared to be a shot attempt, but it was called a non-shooting foul. Now, if you watch the play again, it appeared that, yes, LeBron lost the ball on the way up, but it also appeared as if Johnson didn't notice the ball was loose and fouled LeBron to avoid a layup.

Now, I would've loved to talk to the referee about the call, because it seemed like in most cases that would be called a shooting foul. Instead, it wasn't, and LeBron ended up taking a 27-footer later in the possession that missed.

Still, given how the Heat waJoel anthonys playing lineups it has never played with all season, it's almost forgivable that the team had some hiccups along the way. I mean, Joel Anthony -- who had a remarkable game with 16 rebounds, three blocks and not a single shot or free throw attempt -- was guarding Maurice Evans down the stretch, a guy who can play the small forward or shooting guard. 

It will be interesting to see if Carlos Arroyo's days as the starter are numbered, especially since he didn't play in the second half, and Eddie House appears to have worked his way back into earning minutes.

If the team is still experimenting with rotations, though, it would've been nice to see Mike Miller play more than 10 minutes. Granted, he didn't score in the first half (he hasn't scored a single point at home this season), but it wasn't as if he was awful out there when he was playing.

Overall, though, if this is as bad as it's going to get for the Heat, at least the team can become comfortable playing small ball in the process of struggling. Because that might come in handy down the road.


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