AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
Can Chris Bosh rediscover his magic against Orlando?
In another installment of the Heat Index's 3-on-3 series, our writers give their takes on the storylines before the Heat visit the Magic (29-16).
1. Fact or Fiction: Chris Bosh's recent lack of production is a concern.
Haberstroh: Fact. Those who don't believe that the Heat have a "Big Three" certainly have been basking in Chris Bosh's recent struggles. It's not just offense that has vanished; his rebounding void has been just as significant. It's not a huge concern now, but he'll need to show up in a month or so once the playoffs roll around.
Wallace: Fact. Something's going on there. While Bosh has been consistently inconsistent throughout his Heat tenure, his recent stretch of futility has been disturbing. His rebounding and offensive touch are way off. Usually, it's one or the other.
Windhorst: Fact. Bosh doesn't get a lot of touches and this has been an issue for two years. When Wade was out earlier this year and his offense spiked, it was just more proof that he's underused. But that isn't the real issue. The Heat badly need Bosh to be an effective rebounder. In the preseason, Bosh talked about adding some weight and getting back to averaging 10 rebounds a game. Instead he's averaging fewer than eight, the lowest since he was a rookie.
2. Fact or Fiction: Rebounding is Miami's No. 1 Achilles' heel.
Haberstroh: Fiction. It's been a bad stretch recently on the boards, but the Heat still own the sixth-best rebounding rate in the NBA. I'm not willing to disregard the 30 or so games before the All-Star break. In terms of weaknesses, I'd probably say their propensity to cough up the ball is right up there with the rebounding issues.
Wallace: Fact. But let's be a bit more specific: It's a lack of size and post defense. Udonis Haslem, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are solid rebounders for their positions and roles. But the Heat need much more from Bosh, Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman in that department.
Windhorst: Fiction. I would say generally it is their lack of size. The Heat are 14th in rebounding differential, the most important rebounding stat if you ask me, so that hasn't been a massive concern. It's more the rebounding with the troubles defensively against centers. The Heat have to scramble with their lineups and mess with their preferred style of play to cover for this lack of size. In my opinion, this is the greatest threat to their title chances.
3. Fact or Fiction: The Heat match up worse vs. Orlando than Chicago.
Haberstroh: Fact. Chicago is better than Orlando, no doubt. But in terms of personnel, the Heat and Magic head-to-head matchup is a fascinating interplay of strengths and weaknesses. And that matters more in the postseason. I see Miami having the firepower to beat both squads in a playoff series, but I think it might take an extra game to put Orlando away.
Wallace: Fact. Only because it's usually a case of the extremes with Orlando. When the Magic are knocking down 3s, it presents a pick-your-poison scenario that makes them difficult for Miami. Chicago's strength is its consistency. You know what kind of hard-nosed effort you're facing every night. Doesn't make it easier, but you know what's coming.
Windhorst: Fact. The Heat have two weak spots. They don't have a reliable center and the Magic have the best center in the league. Also, the Heat are ranked 23rd in defending the 3-pointer, the lowest they rank in any key defensive stat, and the Magic are the most prolific 3-point shooting team in the league. Orlando has all sorts of issues dealing with defending James and Wade, but they present the Heat with lots of problems.