Really? 1 for 18? Really?!?
There aren't many games where a single player can take the blame for a loss, but this might just be one of them. No, the Heat wasn't perfect. Far from it. The littany of mistakes, which we'll get into momentarily, though, were only made more magnified because Chris Bosh was as off as any player of his magnitude has been in decades. Decades.
If you've ever been in that spot, it's such a head game. You're a shooter, so you normally want to be open. But when you've missed that many open ones, you almost are dreading catching the ball and finding yourself open. Because you know the right thing to do is to shoot it, because you have to assume you're good enough to make the next one. But you've already thought about it more than you normally do, and at that point you've ruined it for yourself. You're almost praying a defender closes hard so you have an excuse to do something other than shoot it.
You could see after about 1 of 10 that Bosh was in his own head. To his defense -- very brief and weak defense as it may be -- he did get clonked in the nose early on, and he didn't exactly get many designed opportunities near the rim, which probably would've helped after about, oh, I don't know, 1 of 12, maybe?
So, there it is. A performance that might never be repeated in the NBA for the next 20 years cost the Heat a win, and yet it was still a tie game in the final minute.
Not to overstate this loss, but it only strengthened a perception across the country that Derrick Rose is becoming the runaway MVP. But, again, if Bosh makes two jumpers and the Heat wins, you're looking at Rose's line (26 points on 24 shots, five rebounds, six assists, four turnovers, zero steals and a plus-minus of minus-2 in 37 minutes) and thinking, "Eh."
Then you'd see LeBron James' line, on the road no less, (12 of 21 for 29 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two turnovers, two steals and one block and a plus-3) and you'd think, "Well, maybe he is still MVP." Or you'd even think Dwyane Wade (34 points, eight rebounds) might be ahead of Rose. But because the result allowed Rose to look like the hero with a late jumper and a dish to Luol Deng, and now there might be no way for James to recover.
Now to the list of errors down the stretch. At least the highlighted ones...
-Might as well just start with the pass Eddie House threw to Wade's back on what could've been a fast break opportunity. The turnover resulted a Deng three-point play that put the Heat down seven. That play was indicative of the Heat's play off the bench. Two points. Two.
For all the talk about the Celtics being "hurt" in that game against the Heat because they were missing a bench player, basically, the Heat didn't and won't get much slack for being without Mike Miller. Other than possibly hitting an open shot, Miller definitely would've helped the Heat on the board. The Bulls clobbered Miami in that area, 53-39.
-After falling behind 85-84, the Heat's next two shots were a James three-pointer from the corner, which wasn't even an open shot, and a Bosh 18 footer, which was open, but come on. That's possibly the spot you want him to at least try to drive and draw a foul.
-With the game tied at 89-89, Wade made a huge mistake by helping off Deng to try to get to Rose. Two reasons that was just a bad play. First, James was in front of Rose still, and Erick Dampier was also coming from underneath the basket to make the shot tougher. All Wade did by helping was give Rose a bail-out option. Second, the LAST thing you want to do in a tie game in the final seconds is give up a three-pointer. Even if Rose makes that shot, all you need is a deuce to tie it back up. Now that you've given up a three, you're almost forced to attempt a three on the next possession. Or at least extremely tempted to put up a three.
-Which brings us to the final poor decision of the night (just a reminder: none of these final plays matter if Bosh's historically awful 1for 18 night is just a terrible 4 for 18 night). James' rushed three-pointer, off the dribble, with a defender in his face is exactly the opposite of what this team has been preaching all season. Trust, for one. And smart choices, as well. Sure, no one other than Mario Chalmers was helping Wade and James, but at least run a play to let something open up. That was the definition of hero basketball, and it ended appropriately.
Just one loss. And if this was a playoff game, the Heat would almost be able to say to themselves "that'll never happen again in this series." But it's an agonizing loss given the stats and the now 0-5 record against your direct competition atop the Eastern Conference.