The Miami Heat may have hit a new low on Wednesday night, when their effort and attitude were questioned by coach Pat Riley after an embarrassing 25-point loss at home.
Apathy certainly isn't the correct formula to keep up with the fast-paced Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors will look to avoid consecutive road losses to losing teams on Friday when they face the Heat, who haven't beaten a winning team since December.
Miami's performance in a 108-83 home loss to the banged-up Toronto Raptors on Wednesday was so bad that Riley raised the idea of refunding season ticket holders for the game during a colorful postgame press conference.
The Heat (11-47) have lost 29 of their last 32 games, and haven't beaten a team with a winning record since a 104-102 win over Utah on Dec. 22.
"The season is over for them. That's how they're playing, some of them anyhow," Riley said of his team. "I've been there before. When you're not going anywhere and you're watching teams night in and night out that are playing for something. It's just an apathetic approach on our part. It's so unprofessional it?s ridiculous."
Riley was particularly miffed with his starters, who combined for just 28 points on 11-of-33 shooting. He said that while some players are locked into contracts, "they'll get their day of reckoning," meaning they won't be back with the Heat eventually.
Ricky Davis, Earl Barron, Marcus Banks and Chris Quinn came off the bench to combine for 55 points on 19-of-36 shooting.
"At least we got a little bit of life and energy coming off the bench," Riley said.
On Thursday, Riley himself sounded like he had given up on the season when he announced that he might miss games to scout college players the Heat could select with their first-round draft pick.
"I'll be flying in and out," Riley said. "But I think right now, I've got to do that. I need to do that."
Golden State is focused on this season, entering this contest one game ahead of Denver for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Warriors had a different problem on Wednesday - rather than apathy from losing, they suffered from complacency due to their recent success in a 118-109 loss at Charlotte.
"We didn't deserve to win tonight because we came in expecting to win," Warriors forward Stephen Jackson said. "We didn't play our game of basketball."
The Warriors (37-23), who had a four-game winning streak snapped, had averaged 117.3 points in those four victories. Golden State has scored at least 100 points in 24 consecutive games, going 17-7 over that stretch, and leads the NBA with 110.5 points per game.
The Heat are last in the East, averaging 93.3 points.
Golden State's Monta Ellis, who had 32 points, eight rebounds and five assists against the Bobcats, is averaging 25.5 points and shooting 58.8 percent in the last 18 games, while Baron Davis has scored at least 30 points in each of the first two games of Golden State's four-game road trip.
The Warriors conclude the trip at Orlando Saturday.
Davis scored 13 fourth-quarter points as the Warriors rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the heat 120-113 at home on Dec. 7.
Copyright 2007 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited