Head coach Erik Spoelstra expects star players to return
In their last four away games, the Miami Heat have played without their usual starting five due to injuries to Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler.
With three of the four losses coming to the point, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra believes the quality of his star players on the pitch can make all the difference in minutes.
“Eventually we’ll hopefully get some guys back,” Spoelstra said, per Sports Illustrated. “Even if they’re not quite 100 percent, even if they’re close enough, maybe they can give us a little reinforcement, even if it’s only a few minutes. That’s where we are right now.”
The Heat have struggled with losing their defensive identity in just one season. They were one of the best defensive teams last season; Now the Heat are currently 14th in the league with the Atlanta Hawks both having 111.1 defensive ratings. They average the second-lowest blocks, even with the 16 out of 18 games played by Adebayo.
Kyle Lowry isn’t the same point of attack he used to be, but he’s kept the Heat within reach over the past four games, averaging 18.3 points and 7.3 assists. Lowry’s resurgence is encouraging given his poor performance in last year’s playoffs, but it must remain so once Butler returns and seeks to reclaim his spot as Miami’s top scorer.
“Just give us what you have,” Spoelstra said. “Whatever you have, give it to us. If you’re used to playing 30 minutes, just give us 15. If you’re used to playing 20 minutes, give us attention so we can somehow manage things now.
For now, the Heat are without some of their former All-Stars, and that may remain the case for the foreseeable future. Questions are piling up, and a heated Spoelstra could be the finishing touch to a roller-coaster season for South Beach.