The season has barely begun.
But it has been enough for the Heat to realize it has a glaring problem it needs to fix quickly.
Ray Allen’s three-point heroics saved the Heat from back-to-back losses on consecutive nights Saturday.
But the 119-116 win against the Nuggets continued the Heat’s early season defensive struggles.
Miami allowed an opponent to score over 100 points for the third consecutive game to open the season.
“We understand some teams will score over 100 points when they shoot 47 percent or so,” Chris Bosh said. “But allowing 50 [or higher], that’s a little bit too much. We can’t expect to win a lot of games playing that kind of defense. It’s something to work on and that’s exciting.”
Bosh finished with 40 points, equaling the Heat’s total points in the paint.
The problem was Bosh and the Heat could not stop the Nuggets in the same category, allowing a staggering 72 points near the basket. The Nuggets also outscored the Heat 30-6 in second-chance points.
Kenneth Faried hurt the Heat early beating them to rebounds consistently for second-chance points. Ty Lawson used his speed to drive to the basket for scores as well, and Andre Igoudala shot a solid 9 of 15 from the field.
“We need to concentrate on defense and rebounding right now,” Bosh said. “The pace will come with stops. Sometimes the up-tempo does help us out but we have to get stops. Giving up 100 points three straight games, that’s not what we do.”
Although it is early, the bigger cause for concern may be the lack of a common defensive deficiency through the first three games.
Three potentially championship-contending teams have found ways to light up the scoreboard on a Heat team that was ranked among the best defensive teams in the league during last year’s championship season.
The Celtics hurt the Heat with solid outside shooting after a 52 percent effort on opening night.
The Knicks won Friday night’s game in New York thanks largely to 19 made three-pointers.
Denver shot 51.8 percent Saturday and out-rebounded the Heat 47-32.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra tried a few different rotations to try and slow down the Nuggets inside even giving backup center Joel Anthony his first action of the season.
Anthony played only seven minutes.
The Heat averaged only 93 points allowed per game last season.
“Offensively we were ahead of we were defensively,” Dwyane Wade said. “We had guys we had to incorporate into the lineup and as you get stronger and in better shape, you get better on defense.
“Once we start making more rotations, it will get better. Right now we have to work it.”
Added Spoelstra: “We’ll get better we know we have to get better defensively and put more commitment. We know the guys feel it in the locker room. A lot of things we’re doing the team can benefit offensively but our foundation is defense and we’re not going anywhere unless we sure that up.”