OKLAHOMA CITY – The Miami Heat were bound to have a game like Monday’s 97-85 loss at the Thunder in which the final score does not indicate just how lopsided this game was.
And even though Justise Winslow has learned after one year these nights will occur, he suggested at times the Heat checked out of the game mentally.
“I don’t want to say every season you have one of those nights, but that’s what it kind of felt like,” he said. “There was points where we kind of were out of it mentally or whatever, guys taking plays off. But, it was a four-point game in the third. That’s something we can take away. When you play those good teams we’ve just got to do a better job of focusing and locking in, getting to the right spots, talking and playing with energy.”
Miami trailed 55-51 early in the second half before the Thunder went on a 20-0 run over the next six minutes.
“We don’t want to have a long season with a lot of nights like this,” Winslow added. “If we can figure out how to keep that four-point game around eight, that can be good. We’re sticking around with teams and then we go through stretches where they pull away. We’ve just got to do a better job of keeping it close.”
Winslow expressed frustration in his play after another woeful shooting night. He missed all but two of his 13 shots and now is shooting 28-of-90 (.311) on the season.
“I feel for the most part I was out there trying to make plays,” he said. “But it was just frustrating to see a lot of the layups, not just myself, but my teammates going in and out. We kind of let that bring our energy down on the defensive end and not getting back, offensive rebounds, all that.
“I’m not perfect. I had moments like that. But it’s part of the process. We’ve got to figure out how to limit those moments for each person and not have three, four people having those moments all at one time. We’ve just got to do better as a team.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra said he is “not going to panic now” and start making changes. He believes the first quarter, in which Miami allowed a season high 39 points and was outrebounded, 13-4, was an anomaly.
“This was really the first time this has happened this year,” he said. “We just have to put it all together. We have to find a way to get a consistent 48 minutes regardless of who’s out there. We’re capable of it. We know we can do it. We just have to get better with all of it.”