The Miami Heat right now trail the Indiana Pacers 2-1 in the eastern conference semifinals, and with no Chris Bosh for quite a while, the Heat seem to be in massive trouble. The Miami Heat have already been knocked for not having a middle and for not having any sort of a middle or legitimate post presence even with Chris Bosh on the floor. But now that he's out with an abdominal strain, the Heat's middle seems to have really shrunk to the point that it appears as thought there are midgets playing down in the post. Let's be real here folks: Ronny Turiaf, Joel Anthony, and Juwan Howard can't play a lick of center right now, and LeBron James is struggling to play the power forward position. They have nobody to compete on the glass with Roy Hibbert, David West, and Tyler Hansbrough. The Pacers are mauling the Heat on the glass right now, and that has really made the difference in this series.
The other big flaw that has come to light is Miami's lack of bench depth. When nobody on the bench can score more than 5 points, you aren't going to win many playoff games. The NBA Playoffs is a war of attrition, and you need guys 1-12 step up at some point to win a series. Right now, only guys 1 and 2 are really stepping up for the Heat. The rest of the guys are stinking up the joint and showing why basketball is a team sport, not an individual sport. If their bench continues to suck, then yes, the Miami Heat will lose this series. They need somebody to step up and do what any solid 6th man should do, which is score the ball and take pressure off the stars. Nobody on the Heat is doing that off the bench, and that is why LeBron and Wade are tired down the stretch. With no Chris Bosh, the Miami Heat have to carry 10 yahoos on their back for all 4 quarters. Of course their shots fall short down the stretch. Great teams have the luxury to allow their bench to come in for their stars for around 10-12 minutes a game. The Heat can't play their bench without Wade and James on the floor because they'll get whopped by any team in the league. The fact of the matter is the Heat bench is beyond weak, and LeBron and Wade are too tired to carry this team for all 4 quarters. But before you start defending James and Wade for this, let's keep in mind that they chose to play on this team.
Bench play has always been an important staple of any contending team. It's a fact. Guys who don't start need to step up and play their roles. When they do, their team succeeds. When they don't their team struggles. The need for a bench is one of the most fundamental needs for any basketball team to succeed, and the Miami Heat basically gave the finger to bench play and said "we don't need it, because we have 3 superstars". Well guess who's laughing now? They are getting beat by a team who has a vastly superior bench, and has allocated its resources more evenly from top to bottom. So don't try to defend Wade and James because their bench sucks. They chose to have a chicken-shit bench, and it's coming back to bite them in the butt.