The Miami Heat did not come blazing out the gate during their season opener against the Orlando Magic on December 23. With 22 turnovers and shooting just 7 of 20 on 3-pointers, the Heat fell to their crosstown rival 113-107.
But should Heat fans be freaking out? No, because it’s just one game. And during the post-game press conference, forward Jimmy Butler didn’t appear worried. There wasn’t one major issue to blame for their loss, but lots of little things — issues they are hoping to quickly tweak before their home opener, a noon tipoff on Christmas Day against the New Orleans Pelicans.
“I don’t think we found our shooters enough,” Butler said. “A lot of overthinking, a lot of too much unselfishness. That is a good and a bad thing. But we got to find our shooters more. We got to find Duncan. Duncan needs to be getting 10 to 12 up a game. Same thing with T, Goran, K-Nunn. If he gets in there, Moe. I got to be the one that makes sure that my guys shoot the rock.”
Bam Adebayo shared similar sentiments as Butler. “I just felt like we were out of sync as a team,” he said. “I feel like we weren’t communicating as much.” Adebayo, like Butler, also expressed the need for everyone to take the opportunity to shoot when it’s available.
“We don’t want to play selfish basketball. Me and Jimmy are the two most unselfish teammates, so we look to get our guys involved. That’s how we want to play. It’s funner that way and we feel like we keep playing that way, we’re turning this around.”
Adebayo is also confident in his team’s talents. “Everybody knows how we play,” Adebayo said. “So, the ball doesn’t stick in anybody’s hands. We play one of those offenses where everybody’s a threat and that’s how we like it, that’s how we want to play, so obviously me and Jimmy, we handle most of the load, but all our teammates know they’re threats. And that’s how we want to play.”
Spoelstra Said the Team ‘Look Exactly [Opposite]’ In Practice on Tuesday of What Fans Saw on Wednesday
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra barely recognized his team during Wednesday’s game, and overall, that’s a great thing.
“There’s a lot of different factors,” Spoelstra said, of their loss against the Magic. “One, empty possessions. Two, we didn’t get the necessary ball movement. We were pretty much the first-trigger team trying to get everything on that first action.”
“Obviously, with the mistakes, we just did not work our triggers and our offense well enough and sharing it and seeing what would happen if it got to the weakside,” Coach Spo continued. “But we’ve had, the overwhelming majority of our practices, the ball really moves. That was disappointing that it didn’t carry over.”
The Heat’s ‘Depth’ Is Both a Gift & a Curse
Miami is stacked with young talent and while that’s obviously a great thing, it also makes it difficult to know which players should be on the court and when. Because of the Heat’s depth, there’s a plethora of options to choose from, an issue most other teams don’t have the luxury of dealing with.
When it becomes a problem, however, is when the bench unit outplays the starting lineup, which was the case for most of the Heat’s games against the Magic. While rookie Precoious Achiuwa made the most of his minutes in the season opener, we didn’t get to see anything from KZ Okpala or Avery Bradley.
With great star power, comes great responsibility, and with a shortened 72-game regular season, the Heat needs to fing their rhythm and rotation sooner than later.