Chris Bosh took ownership as soon as he stepped out of the shower.
"I didn't show up for my teammates tonight," he said, "and it will not happen again."
Dwyane Wade wasn't quite as forthcoming when it came to blame.
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"We've got to do a better job, all of us, helping get each other involved in the game," he said moments before Bosh spoke in a funereal Miami Heat locker room. "We've got to do a better job of making sure me and Chris can have opportunities to succeed."
These were the contrasting faces of failure Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, after a 91-77 loss to the Indiana Pacers that forced a Monday winner-take-all Game 7 at AmericanAirlines Arena, a trip to the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs in the balance.
Bosh, after shooting 1 of 8 for three points, with four rebounds, took ownership. He was awful. He knew it. He didn't look elsewhere.
"I'm just disappointed in myself," he said.
Wade, after shooting 3 of 11 for 10 points, did look elsewhere, suggesting he has been marginalized in the Heat's offense, on a night when defense and rebounding were equally decisive factors.
"We've got to try to figure it out in this locker room," he said, "and not leave it to an individual to self-will it."
That individual again was LeBron James, who nearly did just that, helping the Heat roar back from a 17-point deficit to within four as Wade and Bosh watched from the bench. Ultimately, it was too much to ask for on a night when James closed with 29 points, seven rounds and six assists, the only Heat player to score more than 10.
From the start, this Big Three thing has been a challenge.
But factor in Wade's balky right knee and Bosh's sprained right ankle, and it becomes even more of a puzzle.
The Heat, in fact, tried to go to both early, with Wade off on his floaters, Bosh off on his jumpers.
Yes, Wade is hurt, very hurt, hurt enough that it would not be surprising for the Heat to issue a release a few days after whenever this season is over saying knee surgery is up next.
Asked about the knee, Wade grew testy late Saturday night, testier than when offering his responses about his role in the offense.
"I don't want to talk about it," he said.
Bosh did briefly talk about his ankle, the one he twisted in Game 4. But he also acknowledged that he had been rotten in this series well before that misstep.
A year ago, the Heat went into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals coming off a tour de force by James in Game 6 in Boston, a night he showed he could singlehandedly lift the Heat, if need be. The Heat went on to win that Game 7 against the Celtics and the 2012 championship.
But these Pacers are not those Celtics, not after annihilating the Heat 53-33 on the boards Saturday night, not after limiting the Heat to 36.1 percent shooting.
As has been the case since the start of this series, Wade has to be better, if he can, Bosh has to be better, because he must.
"We're going to have to find a way to get it done," Bosh said.
As it was ending, James walked up and down the bench, consoling teammates, walking onto the court to greet those who had mopped up this mess.
Moments later, inside the locker room, Wade was lamenting his lost place in the offense, while Bosh was simply a lost soul, wondering how it had gone so wrong.
Even when Wade and Bosh were at the top of their games, it was tough enough for Erik Spoelstra.
Now he has to make it work with Wade on one knee and Bosh caught amid a crisis of confidence.
"They're our brothers," he said. "We're all behind them. If anything, it's on me. I've got to find ways to get those guys comfortable in areas where they can be aggressive. And that will be my focus the next 48 hours.
"They're obviously a major part of what we do, and I need to find a way to get them in places where they can be really aggressive. Now Game 7s, adversity and backs against the wall, I know those two men's character. This is when they come up big in these moments."
They have to.
The Heat have no other option.
Because as Saturday showed, against these Pacers, the best of LeBron simply isn't enough.
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