A six-pack of Heat on Tuesday, with a Dolphins and Canes item as well:
• Of all the remarkable things about this stretch of 19 wins in 23 games, this is near the top: Miami is shooting 41 percent on threes during this 23-game run, best in the league.
For perspective, the NBA record for three-point shooting over an entire season is Charlotte at 42.8 in 1996-97. San Antonio leads the league this season at 39.3.
Among players who have attempted at least 20 threes since Jan. 17 (when the Heat started this streak), Luke Babbitt ranks sixth in three-point percentage at 50.7 (36-71), Goran Dragic is 17th at 45.7 (42-92), Dion Waiters is 22nd at 44.4 (48-108), Rodney McGruder is 35th at 42.3 (30 for 71) and Wayne Ellington is 37th at 42.1 (64-152).
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What’s more, the Heat’s 34 threes over the past two games (18 on Saturday, 16 on Monday) were the most over two games in franchise history, according to Heat announcer Eric Reid.
And there’s this: With Waiters and Ellington each hitting five threes on Monday, it marked the first time in seven years that two Heat players hit at least five threes in the same game. The last time was in 2010, when Quentin Richardson hit seven, Mario Chalmers five.
“Miami can shoot the basketball,” said Larry Drew, who filled in as the Cavs head coach on Monday. “Defensively, you have to be much better at defending the three-point line. You have to chase them off of the three.”
• The Heat is the first team in nearly a decade to win consecutive games against the defending NBA champ. The last: Charlotte against the Heat in 2007.
• Of the teams competing for the final two playoff spots, Detroit has the toughest schedule (Cleveland twice in the next week; at both Houston and Memphis). By the way, the two Pistons-Cavs games aren’t part of back-to-back games for Cleveland, suggesting LeBron James likely would play.
Chicago’s remaining schedule isn’t too arduous, though the Bulls host Houston, Memphis and Utah and have Cleveland once.
Detroit and Chicago play each other once. The Heat also plays one more game against Detroit, on March 28 at Auburn Hills.
These next two weeks are the Heat’s best chance to make another push, with seven of its next eight at home, including five against teams with losing records.
The Heat owns a tiebreaker with Indiana but would lose a tiebreaker against Chicago. Detroit has a 2-1 lead in the season series on the Heat entering their March 28 game.
The Heat stands 1.5 games behind Detroit and Chicago and 2.5 behind No. 6 Indiana.
• As free agency opens at noon today, one unresolved issue (as of this morning) is whether Miami would tender restricted free agent running back Damien Williams, who had not been informed of a decision as of this morning.
The lowest tender permitted for Williams would be $1.8 million, which might be pricey for a No. 2 or No. 3 backup running back, though Adam Gase likes him. Decisions must be made by Thursday.
• Hard to believe that UM’s Dewan Huell was rated a slightly better prospect than Bruce Brown. (Rivals rated Huell 28th, Brown 30th among recruits in this freshman class.)
As one UM person said, Huell seems lost on offense sometimes, doesn’t have a go-to move (5.9 ppg, 0 for 2 on threes) and his rebounding numbers were modest (3.3 per game, 17.9 minutes).
This UM staff is very good at skill development, and Huell needs a lot of work. He’s a terrific athlete and can fill the lane in transition, but much more is needed.