In actuality, the Heat probably shouldn't even have been within a shot of tying that game against the Hornets in the last possession.
That charge call against Chris Paul in the final minutes was an awful call, as Udonis was clearly moving into position after Paul was in the air (Glen Davis gets that call for the Celtics all the time), and the ensuing technical foul on Paul made that game closer than it should have been.
Regardless, the game itself exposed one of the issues that many are going to say will be the Heat's downfall this season, and that's the lack of size at center.
Emeka Okafor went for 26 points on 12 of 13 shooting an 13 rebounds, with pretty much all of it coming with very little resistance. Granted, it was a lot of Paul's doing because he scrambled the Heat defense and put Emeka in position to either get an easy putback or put up a point-blank shot, but a handful of those could've been a lot more difficult for Emeka if the Heat had more size to contest those shots.
The Heat has faced four formidable centers so far, in Okafor, Dwight Howard, Brook Lopez and Shaq, and all four of them have had significant impacts, two of them in a win and two putting up numbers in a loss. It shouldn't take much longer for the Heat, meaning Erik Spoelstra, to recognize that it might become an issue in the long term. The options currently, though, are to start Ilgauskas and play him heavy minutes (he not only offers more size, but can give you more offense and opens up the paint for Bosh) or to start playing a rookie in Pittman who's probably not close to ready.
That might mean Pat Riley will have to get to work looking for outside help, whether it comes soon or midway through the season when quality names start to get bought out.
It might be jumping the gun, but if this trend continues it's going to be difficult to ignore for much longer.
What New Orleans had that made life so difficult for Miami was both a decent center and a stellar point guard. Paul, like Rajon Rondo, makes the most simple of pick-and-roll plays look absolutely indefensible, hence the 19 assists. It makes you wonder why you can't put Wade and Bosh in a pick-and-roll with LeBron, James Jones and Big Z on the floor and make it look as easy. But some point guards just have a knack, and Paul certainly has it.
On the Heat's side, the issues were as follows. First, Bosh needs to really pick up his game. He's playing far too passively, seems to have lost every instinct and is simply not playing very tough in key moments. Second, those threes that were wide open for four straight games were more contested Friday night, but the Heat took those shots anyway. That's not good enough for this team. Any threes should be wide open, especially when they're coming from Eddie House or James Jones. That includes that last shot, which wasn't a good shot at all. I'd rather Wade take a step-back three there than kick to House, who was 0 of 6 from three at the time.
Finally, the Heat played scattered basketball for way too long in this one. Not even this team, especially at this time of year, can afford to play playground basketball and hope talent elevates them. At least not when you fall into a 10-point hole at the start. The sign of a great team is one that can overcome those types of deficits, and this team only played inspired basketball in the final six minutes or so. That has to start earlier if this is going to be a special season.
Just one loss, but one that will turn a lot of people off to the Heat because it supports all the supposed problems the team has.