Nielsen on NBA: What’s wrong with the Heat?

December 7, 2012, 9:50 PM

Despite the absence of Carmelo Anthony, the New York Knicks crushed the Miami Heat 112-92 on Thursday night.

It was the second meeting of the season between the clubs and in both contests, the Heat have been pummeled.

Granted, the Heat are still 12-5 to start the season but this was a team that many predicted was going to win 70 games and cruise through this NBA campaign, which begs the question: what’s wrong with the Heat?

There are a couple of issues that have slowed the defending champions.

First and foremost, this team will never have trouble putting up points but they have not been as strong defensively as they were a year ago.

And the numbers back up Heat star LeBron James’ claim.

A year ago, the Heat gave up 0.970 points per possession, good for third in the NBA. This season that number has ballooned to 1.042 PPP, good for 25th in the NBA which ranks them right behind the Toronto Raptors, according to teamrankings.com

Not the stuff of which champions are made.

So what is the root cause of all of these issues? Some of the blame could be placed on a few new faces, but ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh has a different take.

While everyone is discussing the Heat’s defence, few have discussed the continued decline of Dwyane Wade.

The Heat shooting guard’s scoring numbers are down for the fifth straight season, going from 30.2 points per game in 2009-10 to 19.4 PPG this season. More importantly, his shooting percentages are falling as well and he is converting a woeful 25 per cent from beyond the arc this season.

Against the Knicks he only scored 13 points on 3-for-13 shooting. That also needs to change if the Heat are going to defend their title.

It must be kept in mind that we are only 15 games into the season but the defence and decline of Wade need to be monitored as the year progresses.

Knicks notes The surprising Knicks are currently riding high atop the standings and after another win over the Heat the players are certainly not trying to lower expectations.

Knicks centre Tyson Chandler, who was a member of the Dallas Mavericks championship team two seasons ago, believes this team can be as good as that one.

“Dallas all over again,” Chandler told CBS Sports Ken Berger after the game. “Me and the light-skinned brother over there talk about it all the time.”

The “light-skinned brother” is Knicks guard Jason Kidd, who was also a member of that Mavericks title team along with Chandler.

“It really feels like that, with the depth, the chemistry, the veteran leadership, the shooters,” Chandler said. “And we have to really believe. The moment I signed [in Dallas], I promise you, I told my family, ‘We’re going to win a championship, and at minimum, we’re going to make it to the Western Conference finals.’ And I felt the same way once this group came together. With that team in Dallas, we started to believe as the season went along. The moment I walked in, I told all of them: ‘Prepare for a long season. We’re going all the way, and we have to have a mindset to do it, no matter what obstacles get in our way.’ And it’s the same thing with this team.”

Williams wants away from Wolves: Derrick Williams, who was the second-overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft has seen his minutes decline recently with the return of Kevin Love, and his agent Rob Pelinka seems a little ticked off.

A source told ESPN Radio that his agent has asked if there is a trade in the works for his client, although he has yet to demand a trade.

The Wolves’ stance from the source: “We told him to wait for our team to come together. Wait for Derrick to play with Ricky (Rubio). When they played together last year, Williams benefited greatly.”

Rubio is just a few practices away from returning to active duty.

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