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ASK IRA: Is there any wiggle room left for Heat in the East race?

Q: So what’s the next big game for the Heat? – Victor.

A: At this point, there is an easy answer: whatever the next game is on the schedule. For the Heat, there is no wiggle room in this race to try to avoid the play-in round. So that makes Tuesday night in Toronto the next big game. Followed by Wednesday in New York. Yes, a victory against the Knicks would give the Heat that tiebreaker, so in essence that would count double against the Knicks. But it wouldn’t carry any more weight in the race against the Nets than any other victory. So win, win, win. And then win some more (all while lamenting the way too many ones that got away, such as Saturday).

Q: Ira, shouldn’t Bam Adebayo be dominating down the stretch? Does 16 points and seven rebounds seem like a good performance for the second-highest paid player on the team? It looks like he’s afraid of the basket. – Brian, Miami Shores.

A: Or is it a case of be careful of what you wish for? Bam Adebayo wanted more shots this season, and has gotten them. He also has played a career high in minutes. And he has not been the same player over the second half of the season. I wouldn’t necessarily say too much too soon. But to truly be at that never level means producing in the biggest moments.

Q: Definitely hard to get a read on this team. – Douglas.

A: Ya think? It’s almost as if there is a lack of killer instinct. To do what they did against the Knicks, to get the results they then needed in the playoff race, and then to collapse against the Nets shows that this is a team consistently capable of producing inconsistency.

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