Balanced scoring was a rare thing for the Heat during the Big 3 years, but that didn’t prevent some great teams.
This new era is going to take a little more teamwork, and so far there have been some promising signs.
Five players scored in double figures on Saturday night for the Heat in its 114-96 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Chris Bosh led the team with 30 points and the Heat now begins the season 2-0 for the first time since 2011-12. Surprisingly, that was the only team with LeBron James to begin the season with a winning streak. The Heat began the year 5-0 and went on to win the franchise’s second NBA championship.
It would be premature to draw any more comparisons with the current squad.
If anything, this new team is just taking the regular season a little more seriously. Led by 11 points from Mario Chalmers, the Heat outscored the Sixers 27-13 in the fourth quarter. Chalmers finished with 20 points off the bench and the Heat’s guards combined to score 44 points.
Starting point guard Norris Cole had 10 points after beginning the season with a 23-point effort, and Dwyane Wade had nine points and 10 assists. Rookie point guard Shabazz Napier had five points and showed some flashes of potential for the second-straight game. He had four assists and his pass to Chalmers on a backdoor cut in the first half was one of the game’s highlights.
Heat starters Shawne Williams and Luol Deng had 15 points each and the Heat shot 12 of 24 from three-point range.
Miami began the game 5 of 7 from three-point range with rookie James Ennis knocking down the first three of his career with 10:55 remaining in the second quarter. Williams, who went 0 of 6 from three-point range in the season opener, started the game 3 of 3 from distance. Overall, the Heat was 8 of 15 from three-point range in the first half.
The Sixers went without a basket for over eight minutes between the third and fourth quarters, and that slump helped the Heat build a nine-point cushion. A tip-in by Justin Hamilton (his first field-goal of the season) put the Heat ahead 101-90 with 5:27 to play.
PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Josh McRoberts made his debut on Saturday, but Bosh doesn’t want the Heat’s projected starting power forward overdoing it.
"I would just encourage him to think of the big picture," Bosh said. "I know he wants to come back now. I know he wants to do it now and been thinking about it, but I told him just think about everything. I would rather have you 70 games healthy as opposed to coming back too early and missing some time, coming back again and then missing some time."
McRoberts played 11 minutes, scoring 3 points and grabbing 3 rebounds.
"I’m not the most patient guy to begin with, so it hasn’t been fun not being available not being able to practice not being able to play games, especially coming to a new team," McRoberts said.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra turned 44 on Saturday and he already has two championships on his resume, four trips to the NBA Finals and the experience of managing the pressure cooker of LeBron James Era for four seasons.
"I mean how could anybody ever think about that when you're younger?" Spoelstra said. "I thought I was going to be the head coach at Sherwood High School in Oregon out of college. And my dream was ultimately to be the head coach at Jesuit. And then from there, who knows?
"So I never thought about this. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Miami Heat organization."
Heat D-League affiliate Sioux Falls Skyforce drafted seven players on Saturday, and selected Fuquan Edwin of Seton Hall 15th overall. Edwin was the 2013-14 Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Preseason training camp for the Skyforce begins on Monday. The team’s designated affiliate players are Tyler Johnson, Khem Birch and Shawn Jones of Miami.
Saturday: Raptors at Heat
When/where: 7:30 p.m.; AmericanAirlines Arena.
TV/radio: Sun Sports; WAXY 104.3 FM, 790 AM and WAQI 710 AM (Spanish).
Series: Heat leads 47-21.
Noteworthy: It’s the second night of a back-to-back for both the Heat and Raptors. Udonis Haslem and Danny Granter are doubtful for the Heat after missing Saturday’s game in Philadelphia with muscle strains. Heat forward Josh McRoberts is probable. Raptors center Greg Stiemsma missed Wednesday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks with a sprained right ankle but was cleared to play Saturday.