The Miami Heat‘s five-game road trip comes to an end when they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night, in which they’ll try to keep the momentum going following their 111-105 win over the Utah Jazz.
The Heat (8-5) are still working to get into a rhythm on offense, especially since their plan of attack is starkly different from last year, especially when it comes to rebounding. Miami is leading the league in rebounds per game thus far this season, while last season, the Heat ranked second to last in rebounding.
The latest Heat news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Heat newsletter here!
Getting a handle on rebounds has become a lot smoother since P.J. Tucker and Kyle Lowry joined the Heat’s roster, but before those two veteran facilitators were picked up in free agency, stealing rebounds became a point of contention between center Bam Adebayo and guard Tyler Herro.
“You got the guards in there trying to steal a rebound,” Adebayo said, noting one incident with Tyler Herro in particular to Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman. “A lot of times I try to elbow them in the head. Don’t get my rebound. Tyler don’t get paid to rebound.”
Of course, Adebayo mentioned that altercation with a smile on his face, but it’s an incident that’s easy to laugh about now that Heat is no longer 29th out of the NBA’s 30 teams in rebounding.
“That’s the physicality we’ve got this year,” Adebayo continued. “You got P.J. down low. You got ‘Kief [Markieff Morris] down low. You got Tyler every once in a while going down there and trying to steal a rebound. We go after 50-50 balls. That’s what we live by, those in-between balls. Who’s the first person to get it?”
Herro Admitted There was Also an Altercation with Backup Center Dewayne Dedmon
Herro, after hearing Adebyo’s detail about their altercation, went into more on the situation, noting there was another incident involving the team’s backup center, Dewayne Dedmon.
“Me and Dedmon had a little altercation at the beginning of the season, too,” Herro said. “I think I grabbed one of his rebounds, and he told me I score and he rebounds. So we’re trying to steal some, so at the same time, let them get their rebounds.”
Following the Heat’s sweep in the first round of the playoffs last season, the 21-year-old guard, who’s absolutely on fire this season, averaging 21.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, knew something had to change.
“I think we definitely made an emphasis of it during training camp,” Herro said of rebounding. “I think being able to watch the previous team we played in the playoffs, the Bucks last year crashed almost all five guys and that ended up hurting us.”
“So I think watching them a little bit, we were able to take that from different teams, crash four or five guys and try to create an extra opportunity and if not, run back.”
Erik Spoelstra Says the Team Is Still Ironing Out Their Style of Attack
The Heat’s roster went through a major restructure last season, and while the new additions and the veteran players have clear chemistry, Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra says he’s still trying things out when it comes to the team’s attack.
Instead of focusing on covering the backcourt like last year, Heat players are prioritizing hitting the offensive glass.
“I’m fully aware of the dichotomy of that, of trying to build a top defense, as well,” Spoelstra said. “And we’re just trying to weigh everything early on in this season.”