Home for the holidays comes with distractions for Miami Heat

 

The Heat’s players are enjoying extended time with their families around the holidays while trying to maintain their discipline.

 
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Tough to slow down: </span>The Heat’s LeBron James is fouled by the Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson in the fourth quarter of Miami’s win Saturday night.
Tough to slow down: The Heat’s LeBron James is fouled by the Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson in the fourth quarter of Miami’s win Saturday night.
Pedro Portal / El Nuevo Herald

Monday: Jazz at Heat

When/where: 7:30 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena.

TV/radio: Sun Sports; WAXY 790 AM, 104.3 FM; WAQI 710 AM (Spanish).

Series: Utah leads 31-21.

Scouting report: The Heat has won 13 of the past 19 against Utah. The Jazz won an overtime game here in the first month of the Big 3 Era but, otherwise, has lost each of its annual visits since 2003. Utah gets its scoring from guards Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward, a combined 30.3 points per game. The Heat worked well Saturday night with a lineup that had both point guards, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole, on the floor at the same time against Cleveland’s quickness.


dneal@MiamiHerald.com

Being home for a long stretch around holidays, as the Heat is with a five-game homestand that continues Monday against Utah, comes with an upside that can turn into a downside without the wisdom of discipline.

“It’s good. You can actually plan a couple of things,” Heat forward Chris Bosh said. “I can actually go on a date with my wife, that’ll be nice. Get to go on some play dates with my kids. That’ll be nice. I was joking with them, we damned near go from solitary confinement in our hotel rooms, then come back home and we turn back into an adult.”

Ah, but it’s that real-life stuff that can turn happy holidays into bad egg nog. People often forget athletes have kids with Christmas lists, relatives who want to visit (especially for the Florida-based athletes), spouses with to-do lists, parties they’d like to attend, etc.

Focus can wander.

“You see some slippage by teams,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. “People are thinking about Santa Claus, the holidays and what they’re doing for New Year’s.

“We know it’s an important month for us to go into the new year with some serious momentum, sharpen our sabre.”

Their sabre looked ginsu sharp Saturday night against Cleveland, at least early. The Heat reset its season-highs for points in a first quarter (35), points in a half (68), field-goal percentage in a first quarter (70.0) and a half (65.0).

Overall, the Heat has four players averaging double figures in scoring and shooting more than 50 percent from the field: LeBron James (25.0, 59.0), Dwyane Wade (18.8, 52.8), Bosh (14.3, 51.1) and Michael Beasley (11.4), 54.6).

Wade averages 13.8 shots per game, the fewest of his career since he averaged 13.1 per game his rookie season.

“Youv’e got so many guys who are not only taking fewer shots, but touching the ball a lot less,” Wade said. “Guys are trying to maximize their attempts when they get an opportunity. There’s not too many throwaway shots.

“Some guys are going to make, take tough shots at certain times, but not too many of them. I’m taking my shots that are within the offense of what this team needs me to take, game to game. Some nights it’s more, some nights it’s less. I’m not really giving too many throwaway shots away.”

Allen milestone

The NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers made, Heat guard Ray Allen, nailed another three-pointer Saturday night to reach 24,000 career points. Allen is the 22nd player to reach that milestone.

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