In their last four games away from home, the Miami Heat have played without their usual starting five unit due to injuries to Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Jimmy Butler.
With three of the four losses coming down to the wire, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra feels the quality of his star players on the court, can set a difference in a short amount of minutes.
“At some point, hopefully, we’ll be getting some guys back,” Spoelstra said per Sports Illustrated. “Even if they’re not fully 100 percent, even if they’re close enough, maybe they can give us a little bit of reinforcement, even if it’s just short minutes. That’s where we are right now.”
The Heat is dealing with a loss of their defensive identity in just one season. They were one of the best defensive teams last season; now, the Heat are currently tied for 14th in the League with the Atlanta Hawks, who both hold a 111.1 defensive rating. They average the second lowest blocks, even with the 16 out of the 18 games Adebayo has played.
Kyle Lowry isn’t the same focal point of an offense as he once was, but he has kept the Heat within reach in the last four games while averaging 18.3 points and 7.3 assists. The resurgence of Lowry is encouraging, considering his struggling performance in last year’s playoffs, but it’ll have to remain once Butler returns and looks to reclaim his spot as Miami’s top scorer.
“Just give us whatever you have,” Spoelstra said. “Whatever you have, just give us. If you’re used to playing 30 minutes, just give us 15. If you’re used to playing 20 minutes, give us eight, so we can kind of manage things right now.”
For now, the Heat remains without several of their former All-Stars, and it may stay that way for the time coming. Questions are piling up, and a fired-up Spoelstra may be the finishing touch to what has been a roller-coaster season for South Beach.