With the Heat shorthanded, Michael Beasley played in his second consecutive game for the first time this season Tuesday and made the most of the opportunity.
Beasley delivered one of the Heat’s best highlights of the early season in the second quarter when he raced down the court for an alley-oop from Dwyane Wade. Beasley also had a three-pointer in the second quarter and scored seven points in six minutes.
Before the game, LeBron James offered Beasley a vote of confidence, saying he didn’t want Beasley to change his game just because he’s playing a new role.
“I’m staying on him to be him,” James said. “We didn’t bring him here to be a passer. Beasley is a great scorer, and that’s what he does best. Obviously we want him to continue to make the extra pass. We don’t want him to get into [isolation] situations, obviously that’s not how we play, but when he has an open look or he has a matchup problem, we want him to go at it and take advantage of it.”
Through the second quarter, Beasley had 21 points for the season in 18 minutes. There is room for improvement, though. Beasley recorded his first rebound of the season Tuesday.
The Heat was ranked first in the NBA in offensive rating (110.5 points per 100 possessions) and 25th in defensive rating (105.4) entering Tuesday’s game. Furthermore, Miami’s effective field-goal percentage (57.9 percent) and true-shooting percentage (61.2 percent) also led the league. Effective field-goal percentage factors in three-point field goals and true shooting calculates for the value of three-pointers and free throws.
“Offensively, we’re on point,” James said. “You could have asked me a question about offense [Monday] and I would have given you a totally different answer. We need to get back on track and get our numbers. We know when we’re on the top of our game defensively we’re one of the best defensive teams in the league, but you’ve got to go out and do it. You can’t talk about it.
“Offensively, we’re just playing unselfish basketball.”
On Monday, James was angry about the Heat’s effort and said Saturday’s loss to the Celtics was a wake-up call.
“We needed that,” James said. “We come out of that game with a win, it’s a totally different story, but I think [ Jeff Green] making that shot just tells the tale of what the hell has been going on with our season so far.”
• Shane Battier started his second consecutive game for Udonis Haslem, who has been sidelined with back spasms. Coach Erik Spoelstra said Haslem is “making progress.”
“He’s starting to feel better and is already able to start doing some strengthening exercises,” Spoelstra said. “We’ll see how he feels [Wednesday].”
• Haslem has been dealing with a sore back for a few weeks but it flared up before Saturday’s game against the Celtics.
“I was just trying to loosen it up a little more and it wasn’t really getting any better,” Haslem said. “It was just tightening up on me and it got to a point where I wasn’t able to function like I wanted to on the court. So, I just had to take a step back and devote more attention to getting better.”
• Ray Allen also sat out against the Bucks. Spoelstra said Allen was “under the weather.”
“You never want guys to be out,” James said. “It definitely helps when guys are on the floor and we continue to get a good rhythm, but the luxury of our team is we have depth. We have guys who can step in and I see [Beasley] getting some more minutes, Rashard [ Lewis] to continue to get the minutes he’s getting and everybody has to step up.”
• Lewis was the Heat’s first reserve off the bench.
Heat owner Micky Arison, team president Pat Riley and Heat CEO Nick Arison attended practice Monday. That’s not unusual, but the presence of the Heat’s executives gave an indication of how displeased upper management is with its start to the regular season and how focused the Heat is on improving. James voiced his displeasure with the Heat’s apathy.
“It’s an issue for everyone but you’ve got to figure out a way to go out and play motivated every night,” James said. “Through seven games we played unmotivated basketball and I don’t know if it’s going through the motions, or guys are injured or coming off of injuries or a long season/short summer.”