MIAMI — Here are five interesting information tidbits from the Heat’s current three-game winning streak and their 10-9 start to the season …
* Among the 179 players defending eight or more shots per game this season, Josh Richardson is statistically the top one. Richardson is limiting the player he’s guarding to a league-best 33.0 percent shooting, which is 11.8 percent worse than their normal shooting percentage.
* How have the Heat fixed their offensive problems? Miami is keeping the ball in the hands of starting guards Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters. Dragic leads the team with a usage rate of 28.6 percent and Waiters is second at 28.2 percent during the Heat’s three-game winning streak. These numbers are up from the first 16 games of the season, when Waiters had a usage rate of 26.0 percent and Dragic had a usage rate of 24.4 percent. By comparison, center Hassan Whiteside’s usage rate is down during this short win streak from 23.3 percent to 18.6 percent.
* Kelly Olynyk has seen increased playing time during the Heat’s current three-game winning streak. The 26-year-old center averaged 18.4 minutes over Miami’s first 16 games of the season. But Olynyk has averaged 23.2 minutes over the past three games at the expense of Whiteside’s playing time. Whiteside, who was averaging 28.2 minutes over the Heat’s first 16 games, has played an average of 24.5 minutes during the Heat’s string of wins.
* Coach Erik Spoelstra decided to keep Whiteside and Waiters on the bench for the entire fourth quarter Sunday, and it worked. Miami used the lineup of Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Wayne Ellington, James Johnson and Olynyk for the entire period to outscore Chicago 36-32 in the fourth. But the Heat are going to need Whiteside and Waiters late in games moving forward. The fourth-quarter lineup that’s been most effective for Miami this season is Dragic, Waiters, Richardson, James Johnson and Whiteside. Among Heat lineups that have played 10 minutes or more in fourth quarters this season, this five-man group is the best with a net rating of 25.1 in the final period. The lineup has outscored opponents 49-40 in 17 fourth-quarter minutes.
* During the Heat’s current three-game winning streak, they have posted the league’s 10th-best offensive rating (scoring 109.4 points per 100 possessions) and the seventh-best defensive rating (allowing 97.2 points per 100 possessions). Based on these two numbers, Miami has recorded the fifth-best net rating (OR-DR) at 12.2 during its three-game streak behind just Golden State (net rating of 15.7), Philadelphia (18.7), Houston (23.7) and Utah (24.6).