Ending the season on a 37-2 run painted a promise-filled picture for the Miami Heat's postseason. Miami has lost just one game since the playoffs began, which came after a little over a week's rest. Many saw the stifling defense of the Chicago Bulls as a central factor, and it may have been so, but it was obvious the Heat were a little rusty. However, it would seem some players are still having trouble adjusting.
The roster has many notable shooters penned, however, naming each one would be a redundant sentence at this point of the season, as most of the NBA world is aware of the plethora of shooters the team possesses. The entire cast, save for Norris Cole, is going through an uncharacteristic shooting slump.
Shane Battier and Ray Allen struggled at different points of the season due to hamstring and ankle issues respectively, while Mario Chalmers' inconsistency is slowly becoming a trait of his play.
While the Heat get by on pure talent, it is an inopportune time for their role players to struggle from the field. Battier and Chalmers are both shooting worse than 26 percent from the three-point line in the playoffs, with Allen putting up a similar percentage against the Bulls.
The NBA's all-time leader in threes made and attempted torched the Milwaukee Bucks for 46.4 percent in the first round, but dropped to 23.5 percent against Chicago.
The Bulls were fifth in terms of defending the three-point line during the regular season, so to see them staple Allen down is no surprise. It does not excuse the overall poor production from the rest of the Heat's shooters though.
If you've been keeping on track with Miami's games, open shots are not a rarity. The opposing defenses have no choice but to sink to the paint to trap LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh. Whether it's rust, injury or mental lapses, the Heat need everyone to play their part if the team is to defend their title.
It would be amiss to skim over Cole's production. Of the 11 three-point field goals he attempted in the second round, he missed just two. It wasn't until Game 4 that Cole had his first miss from deep, a game after having back-to-back 18-point performances.
Cole struggled for most of the season from downtown, shooting just 26.4 percent prior to All-Star Weekend. It would seem the Heat's roles have reversed for their shooters, with cagey veterans missing and the inexperienced possessing a dead-eye stroke.
However, the solid rest Miami will receive as the winner of the series between the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks is decided before the Eastern Conference finals will do them well. Hopefully the same can apply to their shooters.
All statistics sourced from ESPN.com/NBA/statistics
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