NEWARK, NJ — Things aren’t as bad as they’ve been in San Antonio, but the Miami Heat are having some defensive issues of their own.
The Heat currently rank fifth in the league defensively, but by far, March was their worst month on that end of the floor.
Heat efficiency by month (through Saturday, April 2)
|Month||Off. Eff.||Rank||Def. Eff.||Rank|
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions
The good news is that the Heat have been nearly unstoppable offensively over the last month. And that’s where head coach Erik Spoelstra says their focus has been.
“What we changed probably at the beginning of March is spending a little bit more time with our half-court execution,” Spoelstra said before his team faced the Nets on Sunday. “So the balance has been a little bit more on the offensive end. We had to address some things that we really needed to take a look at going into the playoffs.”
Still, Spoelstra knows that his team needs to get back to being a top-five defensive team.
“We understand if we want to go anywhere, we’ve got to defend,” he said. “We have to do it at the highest level.”
Unfortunately, the Heat don’t have many opportunities to test their defense before the playoffs begin. Their next three games are against New Jersey, Milwaukee and Charlotte, three teams in the bottom five of the league offensively.
Their one test will come next Sunday against Boston in a marquee matchup that could determine the two seed in the East and home-court advantage in a possible conference semifinals matchup. And Spoelstra is confident that we’ll see the real Heat defense then, and in the playoffs.
“I think our habits have been established,” he said. “Right now, we’ve really tried to develop a half-court game that’s ready for the playoffs. So we’ve spent a lot of time on that. But when it’s time, I really feel those habits and everything we’ve put in on that side of the floor will come into play.”