Chris Bosh said the Heat is a different team in the playoffs than during the regular season, and that needs to be the case with Miami’s play on the road this postseason.
Who could have predicted, before this season, that Miami — which went 22-19 away from South Florida, compared to 32-9 at home — would win the same number of road games as Phoenix, Toronto and Washington, and one fewer than Memphis, Dallas and Portland?
“All we can do,” Udonis Haslem said, “is get that road-warrior mentality going in the playoffs because we need that now.”
The Heat finished with its worst road record of the Big 3 era — with six fewer wins than last season — after dropping six of its final eight on the road.
Naturally, there were caveats: Dwyane Wade’s injury absence and a general lack of motivation. But a few trends emerged:
• The Heat’s defense, home compared with road, was virtually identical in key measurable categories, and Miami committed only slightly more turnovers away (14.4 to 14.1).
Here was the big difference: The Heat averaged 104.5 points and shot 51.3 percent at home, compared with 99.9 points and 48.9 percent on the road.
• LeBron James, Wade and Bosh shot better at home; James’ disparity was the largest (59.2 at home to 54.3 on the road) among the Big 3, though both percentages are obviously outstanding.
Mario Chalmers shot 48 percent at home, 42.4 on the road. Ray Allen shot 47 percent at home, 41.3 on the road. Shane Battier was at 41.8 compared with 35.3.
One exception: Norris Cole shot better on the road (44.8 percent to 37.8).
• The Heat was called for more fouls on the road (20.4 to 18.5 per game, on average) and was outrebounded by 204 on the road, compared with a 78-rebound deficit at home.
It will be interesting to see if the foul disparity narrows, or reverses, in Charlotte, N.C.
In the first two games of this series, the Heat attempted 55 free throws to Charlotte’s 31.
• Miami was just 4-10 on the road against Eastern Conference playoff teams, with the four victories coming against Toronto and Charlotte (97-81 on Nov. 16 and 104-96 in overtime on Jan. 18).
But keep this in mind: The 2011-12 Heat, in the lockout-shortened season, went just 18-15 on the road, then won critical road playoff games in Indiana, Boston and Oklahoma City en route to James’ first title