Miami Heat

Erik Spoelstra after three-game losing streak: ‘We have to find maybe a different path’

The three losses which made up the Miami Heat’s devastating three-game homestand were all a little bit different. In its loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, the Heat shot only 38.2 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from three-point range. Miami’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday happened mostly because the Thunder is far more talented than the Heat.

On Saturday, Miami finished an 0-3 homestand at AmericanAirlines Arena by turning the ball over 24 times and scoring only 11 points in the fourth quarter of a 95-88 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

In his postgame press conference Friday at AAA, Erik Spoelstra made it clear he’s not yet frustrated with where his team stands. The coach said he planned to give the Heat the day off Sunday — everyone, he said, should stay away from the arena — before Miami heads off on a six-game road trip. To get back on track, Spoelstra admitted he might have to make changes.

“This is the profession we chose. What else do you want?” Spoelstra said. “You want everything laid out perfectly for you in this association? No. In this league, save for maybe one team, is about dealing with adversity, dealing with competition, dealing with things that don’t necessarily go your way and seeing how you respond to it collectively, seeing if you can become something new and something better from the tough times.

“You don’t need to feel sorry for any of us. We’re living our dream. We’re hitting up against a wall right now and we have to find maybe a different path instead of just trying to bang our head right through it.”

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The closest thing to a trend for the Heat — other than all-around offensive ineptitude — has been turnover trouble. When Miami won 12 of 17 to end 2018, the Heat averaged 13 turnovers per game. Since then, Miami has averaged 14.9 and gone 7-9. On the three-game homestand, the Heat averaged 18.

Turnovers were similarly an issue before Miami got hot at the end of 2018. During its 7-13 start to the season, the Heat averaged 15.5 turnovers per game, then switched to a slower pace with an emphasis on offensive rebounding to even the possession battle.

“Early in the season we had this same issue and we wasn’t winning ball games because of it,” Wade said in the locker room Friday in Miami. “You can’t win ball games when you’re giving away that many extra possessions to the other team, so we’ve definitely got to figure that out.”

Although he could make changes on the margins, Spoelstra isn’t ready to overhaul Miami’s philosophy entirely.

“Three wins in a row shouldn’t change your behavior or your approach, or your routine or whatever you’re thinking about tomorrow just like three losses in a row shouldn’t change it,” Spoelstra said. “Everything should be the same. And you’re constantly searching and digging, and grinding for solutions and trying to get to another level. And that’s where we are right now.”

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