Heat Notebook

Miami Heat guard Ray Allen starting to regain his shooting touch

 

jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com

Ray Allen’s shot was on the skids for a while but it appears the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers has worked out the kinks.

Allen was 4 of 6 from the field and 3 of 3 from three-point range, finishing with 11 points Sunday in the Heat’s 109-105 victory over the Cavaliers. Allen was shooting under 33 percent from the field in the month of February, but is 18 of 38 over the past four games.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Allen isn’t doing anything differently and that he never worried about Allen’s shot.

“I didn’t even mention anything to him. It never got to the point where I raised an eyebrow about it,” Spoelstra said. “Shooters will always go through peaks and valleys during the season. I think that’s the key with great shooters, is to not overreact.”

Spoelstra is confident Allen’s shot will be there in the fourth quarters of games. And if it’s not, Allen’s presence along will keep defenses honest.

“He is going to be there. And what I like, regardless of whether the shot is going in or not, in the fourth quarter, everybody will play him as such,” Spoelstra said. “They will play him to his reputation. He has made enough big ones in the fourth quarter this year, that that’s really all that matters.”

Rare highlights

When Norris Cole is dunking during games out of half-court sets, it’s a good indication the Heat’s offense is purring like a well-tuned engine. During the Heat’s recent three-game road trip, Cole dunked three times, including twice on Saturday at Philadelphia.

“That’s more of a byproduct of having an open lane,” Spoelstra said. “He’s an aggressive player.”

Cole’s driving dunk on Chicago’s Marquis Teague on Thursday was his first of the season. Teammates reacted to the play by enthusiastically jumping out of their seats on the bench. Cole added a two-handed dunk to his season’s highlight reel late in the game on Saturday against the Sixers.

With an average of 5.6 points a game, Cole is shooting 49.1 percent from the field in the month of February. Always attacking the basket, Cole’s overall game has improved steadily along with his minutes. He is now a regular in the Heat’s second unit for his defensive energy.

“He showed that he is an attacker, he is aggressive and that he has that type of mentality,” Spoelstra said. “It is the other things that we have been trying to develop that I am encouraged about, his decision making, learning how to run an offense and getting us organized. That part has been improving.”

Irving assists James

Those interested in the long-term future of LeBron James’ career couldn’t help but notice the 80-foot alley-oop from Kyrie Irving to James moments after the end of the first half.

The buzzer sounded before Irving could get off a shot but tossed it towards the basket anyway. James caught the heave on the far end of the court and put it in the basket. The alley-oop was the first of many in the wishful minds of some Cavaliers fans. It’s no secret that James is a fan of Irving’s game. James also as never ruled out returning to Cleveland.

Spoelstra, who coached Irving in the 2013 All-Game, has enjoyed watching the young player develop.

“To be that productive as a young player says a lot about his talent but he also must have a very good work ethic to be able to put that all together,” Spoelstra said. “Not many young players are able to do that particularly at the toughest position in the league.”

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