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Tuesday was a day left for introspection and review for the Miami Heat, a day for bouncing around thoughts instead of bouncing balls.
While the plan never was to go undefeated, Monday’s 100-92 loss to the Atlanta Hawks was enough to get the team to take stock with a video review at AmericanAirlines Arena, even after playing games the previous two nights.
Foremost on the agenda was whether the Heat regressed, reverted to last season’s approach of players trying to do too much on their own.
Even Dwyane Wade said he needed to go to the videotape to solve that one.
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“I don’t know if we did too much of it, kind of like we did last year, or not,” he said.
For now, he’s going with “or not.”
“I thought we got some good shots,” he said. “I thought at times we had to use our ability to try to break them down.
“They did a good job of guarding the rim, but I thought that we got the shots that we wanted to get. Obviously, we didn’t make them all. They got some blocks at the rim.”
Monday, much of the postgame focus was on Wade, who bruised his left foot a week ago in Charlotte and put together an uneven 4-of-17, 12-point performance, his second game of 12 or fewer points in the past week.
“I just had a bad game,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of back-to-backs; there’s going to be a lot of struggles. This is the NBA. I’ll bounce back like I’ve always done my whole career.
“I’m not going to shoot it great every night. But, obviously, as a player you’re always frustrated when the ball’s not going in the basket when you’re shooting the ball the same way.”
Wade said a little adversity early can be cleansing.
“If it wasn’t for that, then the game wouldn’t be the way it is, it would be too easy,” he said. “So it’ll make me bounce back a little bit, focus on the new game we’re going to have to play here on Wednesday.”
He meant “new game” as in new opponent, with the upgraded Indiana Pacers coming to town.
But it is clear that it can’t only be run-and-gun, fastbreak basketball for the Heat, no matter how enjoyable it was over the season’s first five games.
“Sometimes we got a little stagnant,” LeBron James said. “We know a lot of teams are going to try to stop us from getting out on the break.
“At times it wasn’t smooth out there. It was a grind out there. There are things we’re just going to have to work on.”
The Hawks slowed the Heat with a zone and some feisty man-to-man on Monday night.
At 5-1, the Heat just as easily could be 3-3, had Wade not converted in the final seconds in Charlotte and Minnesota.
But he did.
And that means there can’t be panic.
It might not be all good right now, but it certainly is good enough in this breakneck, lockout-compacted 66-game sprint.