It’s been a busy few days for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
Since the end of Saturday’s 130-103 blowout loss to the Sixers in Game 1, Spoelstra and his staff have been working to build a better game plan for Game 2. Sometimes that means making a lot of adjustments and other times it just calls for better execution.
For the Heat, it’s going to require both.
“It’s all the above and that’s what the playoffs require,” Spoelstra said in advance of Monday’s Game 2. “The playoffs require being who you are. You better have habits. But they also require doing things better, doing things to counteract whatever you’re facing. That’s not exclusive to our series or us or Philly. Everybody has to do that. That’s this time of the year.”
Most of Miami’s issues in the first game of the series came on the defensive end. The Sixers made 18 threes, the most 3-pointers ever allowed by the Heat in the postseason, and put up 130 points, the most points ever allowed by the Heat in the postseason.
“We just have to be more physical,” Miami forward Justise Winslow said. “Obviously they made a lot of shots. We don’t want to overreact to that. We’ve got to do a better job of making those guys put the ball on the floor. They’re good at that, too, but not as good as the catch-and-shoot or a quick pull-up. Trying to get their shooters off the 3-point line will be a big priority.”
The Heat finished the regular season with the seventh-best defensive rating in the league, allowing 104.0 points per 100 possessions. Miami gave up 127.8 points per 100 possessions in Game 1.
“That’s our job,” Spoelstra said when asked about the challenge of implementing the right adjustments. “And that doesn’t mean that we’re always making the right decisions, either. The playoffs are going with what you think is best, what you think you’ve done best over a long period of time. And then what you think you may have to adjust, depending on what’s happening at the current moment. For us, we all really would like to see us play a lot more to our identity. See what happens then.”
The Heat’s hope is that playing closer to their identity will result in a win.
“We’ve been through a lot and I really love the character of the group in that locker room,” Spoelstra said. “So much of this league is how you respond to things that don’t go the way you want them to go and figure out a way collectively to do it better, to improve, to make up for something that you’re disappointed about. And our group has shown that kind of competitive character all year. You have to go through things you don’t like and develop that character. We’ve probably had more of those opportunities to develop that character than most teams.”