This is starting to become a habit for the Miami Heat. The team saw another close game slip out of their hands Sunday in the final seconds when stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade missed shots that could have tipped the match-up in the team's favor. The Chicago Bulls won with a 87-86 victory, making them No. 3 in the Big East. Those missed opportunities by James and Wade were the 12th and 13th consecutive shots that could have tied the game or put the Heat on top in the final seconds of the game or overtime. While few would contest the talent on the Heat roster or their scoring ability but when it comes to actually sealing the deal in crucial moments of games, the team has struggled.
"I told my team, I'm not going to continue to fail late in games," James recently said. "I put a lot of blame on myself tonight. I told the guys that I just keep failing them late in games and I won't continue to do that."
The players' performance against the Bulls marked the Heat's fourth-straight loss. A three-pointer and lay up courtesy of Mario Chalmers put the Heat up 86-84 with just 25 seconds left. A foul called against Mike Miller turned the ball over to the Bulls and Luol Deng made two free throws to push Chicago ahead. When the ball made its way back to the Heat, James missed a lay up, which was rebounded by Wade. Unfortunately for the Heat, Wade missed the shot as time expired.
"The Miami Heat are exactly what everyone wanted, losing games," Wade remarked sarcastically. "The world is better now because the Heat is losing."
So what exactly is going on with the Heat? While it may not be time to panic just yet, the team's closing troubles will come back to bite them if their star players are unable to step up their clutch playing.
There is plenty more NBA action tonight: Utah Jazz vs. New York Knicks - Knicks fans will be waiting to see if Carmelo Anthony takes the court after getting knocked around during New York's game against Atlanta. If he does, look for the Knicks to give Utah quite a challenge.
By The Numbers
18.5 - Ben Hansbrough scoring average this season, that helped the Fighting Irish to finish in second-place behind Pittsburgh. Hansbrough was the sole unanimous selection for the All-Big East team.
4th - Finish that driver Danica Patrick notched at this weekend's Nationwide stop in Las Vegas. Patrick made history by earning the highest NASCAR finish by a woman in a national series race. Tim Tuttle takes a look at Patrick's NASCAR future.
$15 million - Amount of Matt Thornton's contract with the White Sox. The left hander signed the three-year contract Sunday.