Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s message to the team one day after being outrebounded by 20: Just do it.
“Nike said it best, right?” Spoelstra said.
Instead of a traditional practice on Saturday, the Heat reviewed film of every offensive rebound the Chicago Bulls pulled down in Friday’s 96-89 loss. It took a while. The Bulls had 19 offensive rebounds.
Spoelstra and Heat players LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem each repeated a different version of the same thing. There is no magic bullet to fix the Heat’s rebounding woes. It’s just about playing with more effort.
“This is something we are going to fix,” Spoelstra said. “We went over every single one of them and now it’s just a matter of changing it and being really committed to that side of the floor.”
The Bulls outrebounded the Heat 48-28 overall. While the Heat gave up size inside, Spoelstra said size wasn’t the issue. He pointed to the Bulls’ relentless effort. The Heat simply didn’t match it.
The Heat has been outrebounded in four of its last five games and is ranked second to last in the NBA in rebounds per game (38.71). In its past three games, the Heat has been outrebounded by an average of 12.66.
“We got to get it done,” Haslem said.
“I’m not buying that we don’t have no size or nothing because at the end of the day, I’m a living example that rebounding is not about size. It’s about being relentless; it’s about giving the effort. And that’s the bottom line.”
Without naming anyone specifically, Spoelstra said that “individually, guys are capable of doing their job better — to block out or to chase down rebounds.”
After having 16 rebounds against Milwaukee — a 19-point loss for the Heat — forward Chris Bosh has had 13 rebounds total in his last three games.
In those games, opposing starting centers — Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, Dallas’ Chris Kaman and Chicago’s Joakim Noah — combined to outrebound Bosh by 38.
“I don’t care about numbers,” Bosh said. “So, if I get 16 rebounds in a loss, then I’m more disappointed in the loss. If I get five rebounds in a win, I’m happy about the win. If I get five in a loss, then I’m pissed about both.”
It’s easy to point the finger Bosh based on the numbers, but in several instances Friday Bosh said that successful block outs led to defensive rebounds for his teammates.
Without a dominant rebounder on the team, the Heat’s rebounding philosophy is based on collective effort. In other words, the Heat’s perimeter players, who theoretically should be crashing the glass on every play, are just as much to blame.
After watching film of the loss against Chicago, James said noted nothing stood out “that was that glaring that needs to be fixed.”
“It’s something that we know that we’ve been talking about that needs to be controlled,” James said.
The Heat has already adjusted its rotation once this season to provide for more defensive rebounding opportunities. Power forward Shane Battier began the season as a starter but now comes off the bench. Udonis Haslem was elevated to starter in the 17th game of the season.
Another move could be imminent.
On Saturday, the Heat released reserve shooting guard Terrel Harris. Harris could be resigned Monday with a 10-day contract if he clears waivers. Last season, the Heat released center Mickell Gladness before the guaranteed contract deadline, which is next week.
“Right now it’s about flexibility,” Spoelstra said. “We did the same thing last year, so we’re going to keep all of our options open.”
Said James: “It’s sucks. [Harris] is like a brother of ours. He was with us throughout the championship run and throughout this year. He was a guy who grinded to make this team and it’s like a brother being sent away and we wish him the best. It’s a tough business but I believe he’s a good talent and he’s going to make a way.”