When Heat coach Erik Spoelstra breaks down film of his team’s offense, he’s not looking to see how LeBron James set yet another franchise record.
Most nights, when Spoelstra fires up his laptop after games, he’s counting the number of wide open three-point attempts by the Heat’s perimeter shooters. For the Heat, Spoelstra says wide open shots from beyond the arc are the best indictor of a healthy offense. More specifically, the number of wide-open threes taken by Shane Battier can tell Spoelstra a lot about his team.
“The main thing I look for is just if the ball is reaching him when he’s open,” Spoelstra said. “That’s a good indicator of us forcing triggers and the ball moving the right way, if he’s open for threes. If the ball isn’t finding him, we’re probably not doing a great job of creating those triggers and or the ball might not be moving freely.”
Lately, the ball has been moving just fine. Battier was 11 of 16 from three-point range in the Heat’s three victories coming into Tuesday. Against the Trail Blazers, Battier went 3 of 6 from three-point range in the Heat’s 117-104 victory.
“He’s kind of a barometer of our ball movement,” Spoelstra said. “I like the way the ball has been moving the last few games and he has been a recipient of those open shots. To me, it’s just icing on the cake if he makes them. I don’t really care.
“I just want him to get the number, and that’s a team thing for us. Our shooters have to get open looks.”
The way the Heat has played lately, the team might never practice again. The Heat last met for a full practice Jan. 29 at Georgetown University. That was the day after the Heat met with President Obama and the day before a road game at Brooklyn.
The Heat was 6-1 since its last practice before Tuesday’s game against the Trail Blazers. James appreciates the time off. When the Heat meets for a practice between games, Spoelstra normally works on team defense.
“It helps a lot, not going up in practice and banging,” James said. “We’ve been doing a lot of that in games. It definitely helps the body out.”
With so many off days between games, the Heat has reviewed defensive principles and scouting reports during morning shootarounds. Most of the players still receive treatment for injuries and work out on off days.
“I’ve been able to come in and get a lot of treatment and work on my game individually without a lot of pounding and body checking in practice, so it helps the body recover a lot,” James said.
Spoelstra is only a few days from coaching his first All-Star Game. Has he thought about it?
“Not yet. I probably should,” Spoelstra said. “I’ll probably make a couple calls to the people I know who have done it before. I’ll probably call Stan [ Van Gundy] at some point.”
Spoelstra indicated that he has never really paid attention to All-Star Games enough to know how to coach them. Luckily for Spoelstra, it doesn’t seem very difficult. Spoelstra’s biggest decision will be whether to start Chris Bosh in place of Rajon Rondo.