If the goal is to produce complete games, then the Miami Heat have been on point these past two games.
Because the failure has been complete, the losses to the shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies and bottom-dwelling Detroit Pistons in marked contrast to Friday night’s resounding road victory over the Boston Celtics.
“We do have to collectively own this and that’s all of us,” coach Erik Spoelstra said, with the Heat shifting their focus to Thursday night’s visit by the Los Angeles Clippers. “Everybody in the locker room and the coaching staff and myself, we have to do a better job. That’s what I’m going to focus on.”
Whether it has been defensive lapses or late-game offensive struggles, little else amid this 11-14 start has resembled the depths of Monday-Tuesday failures against the Grizzlies and Pistons.
“None of us feel great about this,” Spoelstra said, “and that’s sometimes this league. You have to manage things that don’t necessarily go your way and collectively come together and figure it out.”
From that breakout victory in Boston, and even the victory against the Atlanta Hawks earlier that week at the start of the 2-2 trip, the inconsistency has been pronounced.
“I feel like we’ve played hard enough to win some games,” point guard Kyle Lowry said, “But then we have some lapses where we kind of let go of that defensive rope, and I think that’s where we’re not doing our thing. We’re letting our offense control our defense.
“We’re not playing well enough to finish games, honestly.”
Tuesday’s loss came with Jimmy Butler held out for knee maintenance, with Gabe Vincent (knee) and Dewayne Dedmon (foot) also sidelined. Butler and Dedmon are listed as questionable for Thursday, with Vincent again to be out.
“When you have all the different lineups, it’s hard for a lot of guys to catch a rhythm,” center Bam Adebayo said. “Going from starting, then you go to the bench, then you go from starting and then you go to the bench, and I feel like that’s hard for a lot of guys throughout the whole Association.
“It’s not an easy role to be in when you don’t know if you might play 30 minutes or you might play five. But for the guys in and out of the rotation, they’re doing the best they can. I can’t be mad at them, they’re playing hard. We’re just coming up short right now.”
Beyond Butler, Dedmon and Vincent, the only other players on the Heat injury report listed other than as probable are center Omer Yurtseven, who is recovering from ankle surgery, and forward Jamal Cain, who is on G League assignment.
As opposed to their best of times, the Heat found themselves getting out of team concepts on offense in Tuesday’s loss to the Pistons, particularly when it came to a lack of patience.
“Our offense for large portions of the game, there wasn’t a flow,” Spoelstra said. “Guys were not making quick decisions, quick reads.
“We’re much better than we showed the last two nights offensively and we’ll make sure that we’ll get on the same page and get our flow going offensively and our rhythm much better for Thursday.”
Adebayo’s 21-point performance Tuesday night against the Pistons came with all nine of his baskets in the paint. Adebayo exited the game with 330 paint points this season, fourth in the NBA behind Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (370), Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (362) and Oklahoma City guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (340) . . .
Since his return from missing eight straight games with a sprained left ankle, Tyler Herro has averaged 20.6 points, along with 6.9 rebounds and 6.6 assists. The fourth-year guard is coming off Tuesday’s 34-point performance.