The Miami Heat, stocked with the considerable talents of the Big Treat-Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh- and the varying expectations around the basketball world, have been unraveling recently right before our eyes. Five straight losses, four of them at the normally friendly confines of American Airlines Arena, and three of them after squandering second-half double-digit leads to conference foes, along with allegations of locker room Dr. Phil sessions revealed by head coach head Erik Spoelstra, provide plenty of fodder for audience consumption.
Luckily, teams play 336 regular-season games during the NBA season. Odds are the Heat regains momentum and makes a deep playoff run-one that may very well conclude with another parade down Biscayne Boulevard.
In the meantime, there are some issues to be resolved. And who better to bring these issues to light than the man himself: Dr. Phil.
Joining Dr. Phil is the trio known as the Big Treat, Coach Spo, and Mike Miller, who will act as bench representative.
Dr. Phil: Tell me, D, what is it you would like to talk about?
DW: The thing is, we all have to sacrifice. We know that as a team coming in to the season, we all have to sacrifice on the same page.
Dr. Phil: And what do you mean by sacrifice?
LJ: We have to blend our games together so that we can act as a cohesive unit in the clutch.
Dr. Phil: Clutch?
DW: Yeah man. The clutch.
LJ: We all know how talented we are from the past. C-Bosh, D-Wade, and myself are all 1s. We’re used to being the main options for our teammates, now we have to do it as a team.
DW: When it matters most.
Dr. Phil: What about you, C? What do you have to say?
CB: Man, we just need to get it together, all of us, as one. That’s the key to the ingredients- the chemistry.
Dr. Phil: Chemistry?
CB: Yeah man, we just need get it to where we’re comfortable sacrificing for ourselves. That takes time.
DW: And we all know that we’re capable, we’re winners, competitors.
LJ: It’s not all the time that you have an opportunity like this. You have to take advantage.
Dr. Phil: Advantage, Bron, what do you mean?
LJ: All I’m saying is I don’t want to be taken advantage of. Whether we get home court advantage or not is another story, Phil.
CB: We all hate to lose, we have to figure it out. We’ll figure it out. We have to.
Dr. Phil: What about you Mike? What’s on your mind?
Silence ensues for several seconds as the bench rep is speechless, and therefore worthless.
Dr. Phil: Coach?
Spoelstra: Well, if you thought this would be a cake-walk, you were absolutely wrong. There is a process, and we all must trust each other to persevere after the adversity sets in, otherwise we’ll never grow as a team.
Dr. Phil concludes:
Evidently, there are real emotions piercing through this group, the flurry of which can only be measured with ultra sensitive magnifying glasses normally used to track the movement of red ant farms in central Kansas and parts of northern Indonesia, and the consequences of which can only be described as everlasting, which can tear apart a community in same amount of time it takes for a baby to sneeze, and have obviously affected the performance of this group to the point that one must wonder aloud: What have we gotten ourselves into? And is there any way out?
I have two simple answers to these questions.
What have we gotten ourselves into?
Expectations are like excuses. We all have them. Some expectations are as light as a feather, a feather that somehow knows it exists, yet acts indifferently. Some expectations, on the other hand, are as heavy as a triple-cheeseburger from Jake's Shakes and Burgers and Things.
You gentlemen, I must admit, have the heaviest of all expectations I have had the privilege to analyze. Therefore, you have gotten yourselves into what I like to call “a whole heap of chicken salad”.
The second question is a bit more complicated, but still requires only an elementary answer.
Is there any way out?
No, there is no way to get out of what you’ve gotten yourselves into. Jumping ship now, or at any point in the near future, will only lead to more, and appropriately this time, more negative, criticism and scrutiny. There is, however, a way to right this ship and thus, silence the millions of voices in your respective heads.
Win. If not now, win when it counts. Win one game, because you can only win one game at a time. Then win another game. After that, win the next one. Then you can compare these recent losing performances with these upcoming wins. That’s how you grow.
You start the season 9-8. Then win 21 out of 22. You lose 5 in a row, now go and win 10 of the next 14.
There is a wall of soft cement closing in on your collective psyche, winning tomorrow against the defending champions while snapping their 8-game winning streak will go a long way in shredding this gravel before it solidifies and throttles any attempts of reaching the ultimate goal.
CB: As a collective team, right?
DW: Together, like brothers, right Phil?
LJ: Like sacrificing a lamb, I think?
Dr. Phil: No, Bron, not a lamb. But a limb. Not literally, but figuratively speaking. You must be willing to sacrifice a little more than you are now. Make the extra pass, take the charge, get the ball inside early first, then let D and Bron take the game over, then repeat the process. Bron, pass the ball. D, want the ball. C, lift some more weights, or at least act like you do. And Mike, show up. It’s excruciatingly obvious that your teammates need you (the bench). That’s the only way to win.
And, as we all know, winning cures everything.