The Miami Heat now find themselves entering Wednesday's game against visiting Golden State Warriors coming off their two most efficient offensive efforts of the season, resounding victories over the New Orleans Hornets and Atlanta Hawks…
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At the start of the 2010-11 season, the first with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as teammates, there was the 9-8 start. Bump-gate ensued.
Later during that first Heat season with the Big Three, there was a five-game midseason losing streak. Cry-gate followed.
Last season? Nothing more than a three-game losing streak, and that came early, during a West Coast trip. Over the final 53 games, nothing more than a two-game losing streak. An NBA championship resulted.
So in the wake of last week's loss at the league-worst Washington Wizards and then a nationally televised home blowout loss to the New York Knicks, instead of panic from the Heat, there was resolve from James, Wade and Bosh.
The Heat now find themselves entering Wednesday's game against visiting Golden State Warriors coming off their two most efficient offensive efforts of the season, resounding victories over the New Orleans Hornets and Atlanta Hawks.
"There's lessons learned every time you lose or win," James said following Tuesday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. "In our case, losing those two games, we understood what we needed to do. We needed to get on it right now, and not wait, even though it's a long NBA season. One week later and we continue to go in the right direction."
In the Big Three's first season together, adversity raised questions of whether James had intentionally bumped coach Erik Spoelstra while returning to the huddle amid that 9-8 start. Later, there was talk of crying in the locker-room amid the midseason swoon.
Bosh said lessons learned from those experiences have made the Heat a quicker-healing team.
"You don't get emotional about it," he said. "You just keep working. That's the most important thing about it."
Tuesday, Spoelstra revealed that the team spent five hours together at the arena last Friday in the wake of the loss to the Knicks.
"It was five hours," he said. "A couple of hours of film, practice time, meeting after that. We were here most of the day.
"Our guys have a willingness to put in the work when necessary, instead of passing the buck or not taking responsibility. That's one of the greatest compliments about this team."
No bumping. No crying. Not a single-player lamenting the length of time at the arena between games.
"We were not happy with how we played last week," Spoelstra said. "Instead of getting caught up in any of the drama, we had a five-hour day, together, and went to work."
wade, in particular, responded, with his two most efficient outings of the season, shooting 20 of 25 from the field the past two games.
"We enjoy it, enjoy being able to respond," he said. "You don't always do it, but it feels good when you do."
The constant amid the slip-ups, even in the wake of last season's championship, has been the outside noise, be it Charley Barkley criticizing Wade's move to a game below the rim to others still anticipating an inevitable Big Three schism.
"It's always something" Bosh said. "One thing it showed me is that you don't even pay attention to it. We used to pay attention to it. It used to kind of bother me a little bit."
The only part of it that bothers Bosh now is the current focus on Wade.
"He's a great player," he said. "Yeah, you're going to lose a step as you get older, but great players always find a way. And he does beat his guys one-on-one; just ask those guys that guard him. He's a good player and I'm sure all those who criticize him, if it was a draft, they would love to have him on their team."
Such is the cycle of scrutiny. Bosh laughed that while it currently seems to be Wade's turn, it's only a matter of time before the spotlight makes it way around the locker room again.
"Eventually," he said, "it'll come back to me, then Dwyane and LeBron, then back to me. It'll just keep going."
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