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I know, I know. Antoine Walker had another boo-worthy night, shooting 1 of 9 from the field. Dwyane Wade had too many turnovers (8). And Shaq shoulda played more than 30 minutes.

None of those stats were the reason the Heat lost to the Hornets on Wednesday.

This game was about defense, and the Heat isn't a defensive team. At least not right now.
The perimeter players have trouble containing people, and the Hornets have two of the quickest guards in the league in Chris Paul and Speedy Claxton (his name is Speedy, for crying out loud). And neither Wade, Gary Payton or Jason Williams could stay in front of them. That's why David West was open, why Rasual Butler was open, why Kirk Snyder was open.

Combine that with a lack of all-around effort on rebounds and loose balls (Shaq stood and watched a few rebounds that ended up in the hands of Hornets guards), and it's the difference between a win and a loss.

Even when the Heat play less-than-great offensively, they can win. But only if they combine that with effort on the other end.

The guys who are supposed to be the "energy guys," like Udonis Haslem and James Posey, can't be the only ones who play hard all the time. Others need to match that, otherwise the Heat will continue to lose to lesser competition.

If the Hornets looked tough, wait until Friday, when the small, quick, explosive Suns offense takes on Miami.




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