Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic: Behind the Eight Ball

Well, it's official. Dwyane Wade needs a crap-load of help. Sure it was great to see D-Wade back in action last night after being sidelined with a strained calf since February 17. But even with Wade doing his usual routine of denting asses in a single bound, the Miami Heat continued to suffer from a severe case of getting-the-shit-kicked-out-of-them-on-a-nightly-basis. This, in turn, has led them to fall two games below .500 and into the ninth seed in the East and therefore, out of playoff contention.

It's not quite time to throw in the towel on the season, but after last night's 96-80 loss to the Orlando Magic, it's probably time to start digging in the linen closet for one.

Wade did what he could what with that four game absence rust still lingering on him. He went 6-for-17 from the floor, finishing the night with a solid 21-point, 5-rebound, and 5-assist performance. But Michael Beasley continued his Gone Missin' Tour 2000, shooting 0-for-4 and finishing the night with a whopping one point. Quentin Richardson made the most of his starting time by finishing with three more points than Beasley.

Not to be outdone by the starters' crap-tastic outing, the Heat bench

was equally atrocious. Udonis Haslem led the way with 7 points on a

3-for-8 night. Meanwhile, J.J. Redick came off the Magic bench and lit

things up with a 15-point night, drawing seven fouls and making all

seven of his free throws. (Seriously, Heat, if we're gonna let some

dude off the opposing team's bench go all Ike Turner on our nuts all

night, don't let it be J.J. f-ing Redick! Jesus!)

As sure as a

Jermaine O'Neal fade away that clanks off the side of the rim, this

Heat team is all Wade and not much else. Late in the third, Eric

Spoelstra sat Wade to rest him for the stretch run. The Magic held a

61-58 lead at the time. But with D-Wade riding the pine, that lead

quickly turned to a 76-63 score, and Orlando never looked back. Watch

how a 3-point deficit turns into a 12-point deficit after a coach

benches his lone All-Star player. Maybe they are Magic. Or maybe the

Heat sans Wade just suck.

The 29-31 Heat head home to host

Golden State on Tuesday night with 22 games remaining. Now would be an

excellent time to stop the whole crapping-the-playoffs-away thing.

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Chris Joseph