The circus is over in South Florida and the HEAT have returned home after a brutal away stretch where they finished 1-5. It hasn’t been a pretty year for the HEAT. They have 9 new faces on the roster and a boatload of injuries that don’t help, and returning home meant having to face the Houston Rockets led by MVP candidate James Harden.
There was no doubt the HEAT could play defense. In fact, despite their record of 12-30, the HEAT were still in the top 10 defensive rankings in the NBA. The problem consistently was finding the offense to match, and going against the offensive powerhouse Rockets required such that.
There was something different about the team on Tuesday night. From start to finish it wasn’t just one person finding the net. The HEAT finished the game with 6 players in double digits. They have 64 of their 109 points scored in the paint, and most importantly they finished the game down the stretch. It was important for this young team, but how important was expressed by Hassan Whiteside.
However, the bigger question now is can the HEAT use this energy to shift the momentum of the season. There are 40 games left for this young HEAT squad, and finding offense will remain their Achilles heel. While it’s improbable there will be a strong finish to the season, there is at least the silver lining of the win against the Rockets can lead to some valuable lessons to help them finish more respectable than previously predicted. The HEAT are 2nd to last in the NBA, and some would say tanking is better for a lottery pick. That doesn’t seem to be the mentality of this locker room.
The main thing about this game is that they didn’t try to stop Harden. Some things are better left alone. They instead preyed on the weaknesses of the Rockets, which led to such things like an offensive explosion in the paint for Miami. They, also, forced the Rockets to settle for the 3. The HEAT continue their home stand on Thursday against the Mavericks. It’ll be important to see if some of the lessons from the Rockets are carried over and how the team responds for the rest of the season.