Miami Heat

Early signs are positive for Miami Heat

Miami Heat’s Loul Deng (9) and Chris Bosh (1) trying to block the shot of Toronto Raptors’ James Johnson in the second quarter at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014.
Miami Heat’s Loul Deng (9) and Chris Bosh (1) trying to block the shot of Toronto Raptors’ James Johnson in the second quarter at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. el Nuevo Herald

It’s early — probably too early to tell — but might Erik Spoelstra’s beloved process be paying off?

It sure looked like it, after Sunday’s win over Toronto. Saturday’s win against Philadelphia might be evidence, too.

Then there’s some indisputable testimony: Three games into the season, Miami is averaging 109.3 points per game, second in the league only to Dallas. It is the only team in the East that has yet to record a loss.

Yes, it’s early. But even something that could be relegated further down the line as nothing more than a hot start is important. A 3-0 record to start the season shows progress, especially after a laborious preseason, and more importantly, it shows the Heat’s new lineup can gel successfully.

The key, Spoelstra said Sunday, is balance.

“Everybody was contributing, instead of spectating,” he said.

Every Heat player that stepped onto the court Sunday scored. The same thing happened in Miami’s season opener against Washington, which was also the fourth time in history that the Heat recorded three different 20-point scorers in the same game (Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Norris Cole).

Moving the ball

Miami has six different players averaging double digits in scoring through three games and has so far recorded 75 assists, good for second in the league behind the Los Angeles Lakers.

Wade and Bosh are still scoring the most points for the Heat, but they understand the score-by-committee offense — with the two of them as co-chairs — is what’s going to work best this season.

It’s why there were extended streaks of Wade acting as facilitator Sunday against the Raptors.

“That’s why early in the preseason it took us a little time to understand exactly the offense, Wade said, “but coach did a good job of putting something in that he felt that we can all benefit from.

“I also still understand that we have two guys, myself and CB, that we can go to, that we run sets through. But it’s an equal opportunity ball as well, and the ball is moving.”

Spoelstra credits his offensive schemes less and his players’ attitudes more.

During the preseason, for example, Luol Deng, third on the team in points per game with 15, paraphrased a saying by Bosh and Wade that helped him adjust to Miami’s offense: “helping me get mine, so they can get theirs.”

“It’s a habit,” Spoelstra said. “We’re three games into this, so it could quickly go the other way if guys start to get comfortable and try to start to do it on their own. And that’s not the makeup of this group, that’s not at all a referendum by our personnel, it’s the power of working together will make us more successful.

“They’ve seen the results of sharing the game, trying to help your teammate get something easier, and then you end up getting something that benefits you … the guys see it. They see how our team will have to play to be successful and work the game.”

Bosh honored

For the ninth time in his career, the NBA has named Bosh its Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

Bosh posted two double-doubles in the Heat’s first three games, is fifth in the league with 77 points, and seventh in points per game, averaging a team-high 25.7 so far. He also leads the team in rebounds per game, averaging 11.3.

It is the second time Bosh has been named Player of the Week since joining the Heat; the first accolade came in the last week of December in 2013.

The league named Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson its Western Conference Player of the Week.

Tuesday: Rockets

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 28-26.

Noteworthy: This is the Heat’s first game against an opponent from the Western Conference. … Heat center Chris Bosh, who is fifth in points scored in the NBA, was courted this summer by the Rockets during free agency. … Udonis Haslem (left quad), Chris Andersen (rib) and Danny Granger (left hamstring) are questionable. For the Rockets, Patrick Beverley (left hamstring), Dwight Howard (right knee) are questionable.

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