LeBron says “cloud over the team”

For the first time this season, the Miami Heat are feeling the Heat and if the serious demeanor of Friday’s practice meant anything… It said “Time to get back to playing Championship Ball”

With back to back losses to Washington Wizards and a Melo-less New York Knicks who beat Miami by 20 point, it was understandable why Friday’s practice was laughter-free.

“When you win, everything’s great. when you lose, everything’s bad,” Dwyane Wade said. “That’s how it works.”

The tone was noticeably different after practice when the Miami Heat usually take a light-hearted approach to finishing off the practice with shooting contest and what not. But LeBron James and 4 of his teammates were putting in overtime pointing out spots in the court that were damaging them so much on the defensive side. LeBron was asked the about the serious nature of Friday’s practice…

“There is a cloud over our team because we’re not defending like we know we’re capable of defending,” LeBron said. ” We have some room for improvement. The good thing is we can be great. But right now, we’re not good. We’re not very good right now as a team and we’ve got to get to that point.”

Coach Spoelstra was asked during Friday’s practice if the Miami Heat’s defensive struggles are due to them knowing the playoffs are 4 months away..

“If that is a reality, then that is a major problem,” Coach Spo said. “But we have an opportunity to correct it, you know, right now. If it goes too long, what it becomes is a tendency. Goes longer than that, it becomes a habit. If it continues, by the time you get to the playoffs, that’s who you are. So that’s what we’re going to change right now.”

James argued that the “regular season is irrelevant” chatter doesn’t apply to the Miami Heat.

“Not for me,” LeBron said. “It’s not for me. My motivation is well beyond hoisting one trophy. I’m not taking any shortcuts to get to that point, so I can’t all my teammates to take shortcuts. We’ve got to be better. I’ve got to be better. It’s that simple.”

LeBron isn’t the only one taking this hard on himself, as the defensive woes continue, other teammates designed to be the defensive archors are gearing up for a defensive change.

“We understand what it takes to win,” Udonis Haslem said. “We understand that we have what it takes to win. But not performing at a high enough level defensively, it’s just a shame. We’ve got to fix it. And we’re going to fix it.”

CREDIT: Associated Press