The locker-room, for the most part, had cleared out after the Heat was again pummeled on the boards Tuesday night in Indianapolis.
Chris Bosh, one of the few who remained, turned introspective, as he often does, when I approached.
He was calm but clearly peeved.
“If we think we’re going to win a playoff series in the first round, second round, third round, we’re kidding ourselves,” Bosh said. “We are not good enough to be where we want to be. We’re lucky to be first in the East. We’re kidding ourselves if we think this is good enough.”
After Tuesday night’s 55-36 dismantling on the boards, the Heat has achieved this embarrassing distinction: Six times this season, Miami has been outrebounded by at least 15.
And Bosh, who had only five boards in 36 minutes, said it’s time for the Heat to re-think its approach and perhaps go back to the way it played when Miami went 28-13 on the road in the first year of the Big Three era. The Heat is 7-7 on the road this season.
“We don’t play the same way,” he said. In 2010-11, “we were a halfcourt team that pounded you on the glass and executed the offense, and if LeBron and Dwyane had opportunities in the open court after we get a stop, they will push it down your throat.
“We’re not the same team. We don’t play the same style. That style was working for us pretty good. If you look at our weaknesses right now, it’s defense and rebounding.”
Of the change in style affecting the Heat’s rebounding, Bosh said, “I don’t think it’s a coincidence.”
Of course, this team is different, built more around a perimeter approach and spreading the floor. That team played Bosh at power forward; this team plays Bosh at center. That team usually played a natural center alongside Bosh.
Even though Udonis Haslem starts alongside Bosh, Haslem typically has playing half the game or less, and the Heat often goes with only one natural power rotation player.
Does it mean the Heat needs to play two natural bigs together more? “Maybe,” he said. “We played more conventional basketball the first year and last year. This is different.
“We get placed in a system and we try to play to the system to the best of our abilities. Some days, it’s good. Some days, it’s bad. Most days it has been bad for us on the boards. I don’t think it’s about effort. We’re trying our best.
“Even in Toronto, I don’t remember being outrebounded on the boards constantly. Being outrebounded by 20! Soon, I’m going to need two hands to count the times. It’s a constant problem. It’s happening over and over and over. This is unacceptable.”
Miami is last in the league in rebounds, and even if Miami signs Chris Andersen, that isn’t going to solve everything. And it's difficult to get the fastbreak going when you can't rebound. (Miami had one fastbreak point Tuesday).