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Heat Beat: Do we have a problem, Miami?

Miami hits the road for five games after a disappointing loss to the Hawks

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MIAMI – The Heat are officially a .500 team after Wednesday's disappointing home loss to Atlanta. 

It wasn't disappointing just because Miami lost (the Hawks are a very good team), but it was tough to take and watch because of the Heat's continued struggles on the defensive end. 

And now comes a 5-game road trip.  Things won't get any easier.

Where does Miami start to fix the problems?  The first thing they must do is address what the problem on defense is exactly.  Chris Bosh said after the Atlanta loss that effort is definitely an issue.  Dwyane Wade doesn't think effort is really the main problem but lack of comfort with each other right now. 

As usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The Heat started their 6th line-up in 18 games this season on Wednesday.  That's no way for a team to find any kind of consistency.  Especially a team that was expected to have growing pains with so many offseason changes.

Those pains have become a 9-9 record overall and 4-6 record at home.  Maybe the road is just what Miami needs.

The good news is Wade seems healthy again, Bosh is playing at a very high level and newcomer Josh McRoberts is finally healthy and comfortable enough to be in the starting line-up. 

The bad news is Miami isn't going to magically get some type low-post presence out of the sky. 

It doesn't help that Chris Anderson is still out indefinitely with an ankle injury.   Those size concerns are something that won't go away.  The Heat knew this going into the season, so now it's a matter of changing their mindset on defense.

Now with the status of Luol Deng in question with a hand injury, it's imperative the Heat get the defense turned around.

Back to what Bosh said about effort.  This isn't about a team not trying.  Trust me, no one on the Heat is intentionally not giving effort on defense.  But, for many reasons, players are having trouble grasping where they need to be and constantly chasing the open man. 

Opposing teams are taking advantage on a nightly basis.

So now the real work begins.  No excuses.  The Heat head to a place that may bring them out of this rut; the road.  The road to playing better defense must start there and must start now.