The Miami Heat have enjoyed long stretches of sustained success this season. They have also endured a ton of inconsistency, specifically on the offensive end in big games.
Their 106.2 points per game ranks 26th in the NBA while their three-point shooting (34.5%) has slipped down to 28th in the league. The Heat put up 106 points in Wednesday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, one night after being limited to 86 points in another deafeat to the Phoenix Suns.
Consistency on both the defensive and offensive ends hasn’t been their strong suit, according to head coach Erik Spoelstra. Next up is a Friday night showdown with the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves.
“This is something that we’ve been trying to get better with, our consistency,” Spoelstra told reporters. “For the large majority of the season we’ve been a very good defenisve team and we’ve had these games where it gets away from us and we’re trying to eliminate those obviosuly.”
One major point of emphasis has been getting Bam Adebayo the ball more. He needs to become a focal part of the offense, especially down in the paint where he’s so dangerous since he can throw his 6-foot-9, 255-pound frame around with reckless abandon.
“We have to make a conscious effort as a team to get him involved and to get him in his sweet spots because he creates so many things, so many good things for our team,” Spoelstra said. “We still need to get better with the execution when he’s catching the ball in the paint.”
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Adebayo Comments on Recent Struggles
Adebayo was at a loss for words after their latest setback. Despite scoring a team-high 21 points, the one-time All-Star couldn’t put his finger on what went wrong versus Denver. Adebayo doesn’t feel like the Miami Heat have shown their true identity yet. Problem is, the team is running out of time.
“I feel like we can be a better team. We still haven’t put together a game of Miami Heat basketball for 48 minutes,” Adebayo said. “I feel like when we start doing that, that’s when we’ll start adding these wins up and getting further and further away from .500.”
The Heat (28-27) have 17 games remaining on the schedule. If the season ended today, they would hold the seventh seed in the playoffs and earn a first-round date with the fast-paced Brooklyn Nets.
“You ultimately are who your record says you are,” Spoelstra said. “We think we’re better than this and we think we’ve been making some progress but ultimately we are that.”
Trevor Ariza Continues to Impress
The trade for Trevor Ariza continues to fly under the radar. He makes a huge impact on the defensive end, often guarding the opposition’s best player — and knocks down open shots in space.
The 6-foot-8 forward scored 13 points against the Nuggets and 10 versus the Suns. He is averaging 9.1 points per game in April while shooting 44.4% from deep. He’s also quickly earned the trust of his new teammates in Miami.
“Real easy,” Adebayo said of working with Ariza. “One, because I hang with TA [Ariza] off the court, so I get to pick his brain and I understand where his spots are off the court. And two, just down-to-earth dude. And he listens whenever I got something to say and I listen whenever he got something to say, so we kind of just feed off each other on the court.”
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