The Miami Heat’s two preseason games on the road may have not gone exactly as expected.
A 107-88 loss Thursday night to the Brooklyn Nets followed with a narrow 93-90 defeat to the Orlando Magic on Saturday night at the Amway Center.
Despite the last two results, Erik Spoelstra continued to acknowledge his team’s competitive edge, which is showing promising signs of working progress.
“Playing with intensity, playing with multiple efforts, playing with physicality, all of that is a habit, and these are habits you build every single day and not only at the practice we had [Friday], which was very good – shootaround was good – but we actually saw carryover during the course of the game tonight,” Spoelstra told reporters following Saturday night’s game. “Even the passion that our guys are playing with that’s more of what we’re expecting that we didn’t see in Brooklyn.”
Josh Richardson, who had a 15-point first half performance, led all scorers with 19 points and 4 assists for the Heat Saturday night.
After a 6-point performance Thursday night at Brooklyn, in which he started off the bench, his performance two days later did not go unnoticed.
“That’s just the beginning of where he can go in terms of his versatility,” said Spoelstra. “His impact on three different positions on both ends of the court, he was very good… he was all over the place.”
A plethora of rookies continued to see playing time toward the end of the game. Orlando-native Matt Williams, Bam Adebayo, Derrick Walton and Erik McCree each played 6 minutes on Saturday.
“Even our rookies that came in played great, I’m glad they got to play [some] minutes like they did. I’m glad they got put in those situations like they did late in the game,” said Hassan Whiteside.
With Miami’s preseason games on the road now over, the Heat shifts it focus on capping its remaining games at home before tipping off the season back in Orlando on Oct. 18.
The Heat returns to the American Airlines Arena for three games in five days. Their focus going forward; continue to improve.
“We’re using the preseason to get better… different united are coming in and we are seeing what does work and what doesn’t work,” said Whiteside. “We are using it to get better.”
The Heat hosts the Charlotte Hornets on Monday and Washington Wizards on Wednesday, both games tipoff at 7:30 p.m. Miami ends its preseason slate hosting the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday at 8:30 p.m.