The Miami Heat are the team a lot of sports fans love to hate, so the notion that some of their players were in tears following Miami's loss -- it's fourth straight -- to the Chicago Bulls hardly inspires sympathy among, well, anyone. As Charles Oakley tweeted when someone asked him if he'd ever cried after a game in the NBA: HELL NO. Why? Do better next time. But as the team that LeBron James and Dwayne Wade built -- with Chris Bosh holding the ladder -- staggers under the weight of expectation, the question is can they hold it together? Adrian Wojnarowski suggests not, with LeBron's over-reaching ego a major factor: [James]didn't go to Miami to construct a partnership, as much as he did gather superior sidekicks. He's going to keep trying because the solution will never be to bend to the I-told-you-sos that insist Wade's the closer on this Heat team. The Heat have two of the best five players in the world, and they still can't play together when it matters most. Derrick Rose(notes) never wanted to play with James, but he welcomed the idea of Wade as his shooting guard. Wade must have some regret that he hadn't gone home to Chicago in free agency and spared himself this most unhappy ever-after with the Heat.
It's March, the playoffs aren't that far away, and the Heat are still regressing. New York survives two shots out of James in the final seconds. Orlando makes a wild comeback to beat them. San Antonio blows them out. Chicago makes James miss a wild, driving shot in the final seconds. Four straight losses, and the gulf between James and Wade widens with every embarrassment.
"I'm used to coming down in the fourth, having the ball, making mistakes, getting a chance to make up for them, etc., " Wade told reporters Sunday. "You try to do your best. That's all you can do. That was one of the things we got to understand when we all decided to come together. That there were going to be sacrifices that have to be made. And you live with the consequences."
Yes, you live with the consequences. Wade has started to say publicly what he's been saying privately for a long time: Why don't I get the ball when it matters?
4. Tracy McGrady: Not big on the 10,000 rule:
As someone who got to see Tracy McGrady play early in career, I can vouch for those who say he was a 'freak' when it came to natural talent: the package of size, quickness, grace and court awareness he had simply doesn't come along very often. No wonder, perhaps, that at this weekend's Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT McGrady's name came up when author Malcom Gladwell began quizzing J eff Van Gundy and other NBA types about the value of pure talent compared with with work ethic: T he talk dealt with how the "10,000 hour rule" that Gladwell discussed in his 2008 book "Outliers" - that the key to success in any field is the purposeful practice of a specific task for 10,000 hours - relates to an athlete's development.
In considering that notion, Gladwell asked the panelists what value should be placed on pure natural talent - the innate genetic gift that we often view as the line of demarcation between the elite and the merely professional - in relationship to, say, work ethic and the capacity to accept instruction.
As often occurs when discussing abstract ideas, talk turned quickly to a physical example - in this case, McGrady, whose combination of size, speed, power and grace beguiled the NBA in the last years of the 20th century and made him one of the league's most dominant offensive forces in the early years of the 21st.
But while McGrady's abilities were awe-inspiring, his willingness to further cultivate them wasn't, according to panelist and ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy, who coached the Florida-born star with the Houston Rockets from 2004 through 2007.
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