The fact that LeBron James took his normal window seat in the left corner, alone in his own thoughts, at the very back of the team bus late Saturday night wasn't the least bit surprising. It was when and how he did it that told the story of another frustrating night for the Miami Heat. Even on a freshly sprained right ankle to go with his lingering sore back, James was the first player to leave the Heat’s postgame locker room, head through security checkout and onto the transport waiting in the docks of the Smoothie King Center. His head buried beneath the hood of his sweatshirt, James sat for what would be about a 30-minute wait as the last members of the team dragged themselves out of the arena after the Heat stumbled through a 105-95 loss to the lottery-bound New Orleans Pelicans. The scene was symbolic. James is hurt, tired and frustrated as he waits on this team to get its act back together. And after seeing the two-time defending champion Heat lose for the seventh time in their past 11 games at a time when they’re supposed to be gearing up for another postseason run, enough was enough. “It’s too many excuses; everything is an excuse,” James bristled as he rushed through his postgame session with reporters before fleeing the locker-room scene as other Miami players were still showering. “We do something wrong, it’s an excuse. We don’t get a stop, it’s an excuse. We turn the ball over, it’s an excuse. What we’re doing right now ain’t good enough.” For the second time this week, and 12th time this season, the Heat (47-21) found themselves staggering back to their feet after being decked by a team with a losing record. After scoring 43 points and tweaking his back during Monday’s four-point win in Cleveland, James figured he could take a rare night off and rest for just the third time this season. The Heat then lost the next night for the second time this season to Boston, another lottery-bound team in the midst of a rebuilding process. After that setback, Dwyane Wade said the “jury’s still out” on this Miami team; Chris Bosh told reporters “it’s not troubling, it’s upsetting” how the Heat were playing -- and that they were running out of time to get things turned around before the playoffs. Miami retreated home and caught a huge break against Memphis when center Marc Gasol left the game in the second half with an ankle injury. The Heat ended up escaping with a 91-86 victory before catching a plane to New Orleans for their fourth game in five nights. Yes, that represents a particularly tough stretch for any team trying to conserve what it can for the postseason. And that’s especially the case for the Heat, who have played the equivalent of four NBA seasons over a three-year span that has included three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. But as James repeated over and over in short-burst answers Saturday ... “That’s an excuse, too." He was then asked about the Heat’s constantly changing lineups; Saturday's was Miami's 18th different starting group this season as Wade and Greg Oden sat out to rest their knees. “We’ve always had lineup changes,” James said of the Heat, which went through 15 different sets of starters during last season’s 66-win campaign. “Guys who are on the floor need to produce. It’s that simple. It’s very frustrating. We’re all frustrated. We just got to all get on the same page. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’ve got to figure it out.” The Heat aren’t accustomed to these desperate and surly searches for answers. The locker room Saturday had a unique feel to it, something along the lines of frustration this team hadn’t experienced since early in the first season of the James, Wade and Bosh experience, in 2010-11.
Heat's woes grow after 7th loss in 11 games
ESPN | Mar 23