Falling teardrops won't save Miami; shots will

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MIAMI --- Having LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh together in Miami was supposed to be the formula for multiple titles.

And it might. Someday.

Right now, it isn't. With the playoffs a little more than a month away, time is running out.

So maybe it was fitting that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had his back to the wall of Miami's practice court Monday when trying to clear up "Crygate." His clarification: He saw glossy eyes, but heard no whimpering.

Ultimately, little of that matters. A day after Spoelstra said there was "a couple guys crying in the locker room" after Sunday's 87-86 loss to the Chicago Bulls -- the latest entry in a growing list of last-second chances gone awry -- whether tears were falling is irrelevant.

Shots aren't falling.

That's the bigger issue for the Heat, who have lost four in a row and are early in their toughest stretch of the season. Portland visits today, Kobe Bryant and the two-time defending champion Lakers stop by Thursday, and the Spurs visit next Monday.

Even with that, the Heat confidence remains.

"We're a team that no one wants to see in the first round," Wade said. "We lose every game from here on out, somebody's got to see us in the first round. And the Miami Heat isn't really a team you want to see in the first round.

"We're fine."

That's debatable. The Heat have clear issues, including consistency at point guard and center along with the bench. There's often speculation over Spoelstra's job security with the Heat, especially with Pat Riley still looming over the franchise.

The Heat have lost 11 games already this season in which they had a chance to take the lead or tie the score in the final 12 seconds of regulation or overtime.

"Growing pains," Wade said.

That wasn't a case of self-loathing from Wade when he sarcastically said Sunday that "the world is better now that the Heat is losing."

For the record, the Heat say they accept the scrutiny.

"One game or one possession," James said, "is not going to define who we are."

A defining moment, however, is coming.


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