Erik Spoelstra wants Heat to ‘recalibrate, recharge’ before returning from break for playoff push

The Miami Heat, and Goran Dragic, will enjoy their break more after winning 14 of their last 15 games. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
The Miami Heat, and Goran Dragic, will enjoy their break more after winning 14 of their last 15 games. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The Miami Heat will enjoy the All-Star break a little bit more after another impressive win.

The Heat’s 117-109 victory in Houston Wednesday is the difference between heading into the six-day break having won 14 of their last 16 or on a three-game losing streak.

Coach Erik Spoelstra, though, suggests his players not think about streaks or playoffs or basketball in general for the next few days. Just clear their heads, refresh and reenergize, for the final two-month push.

“I think it’s more important for the guys’ state of mind just to be able to not think about the game at all,” Spoelstra said. “I really recommend the guys, at least the first three days, spend time with family, loved ones, friends. But don’t think about the game.

“We’ve been on edge now for over a month, six weeks, really locked in and we do need some time to decompress. When we come back it will be a furious finish, the games will have too much importance, that’s what these guys live for. They love that time of year. But you do need to recalibrate, recharge and then get back to it.”

The Heat will have 25 games remaining when they return and just two games to make up when it comes to playoff positioning after their sizzling last month. Miami (25-32) is two games behind the Pistons for the final playoff spot and just 2 ½ behind the Bulls for the No. 7 seed. Chicago plays the Celtics tonight.

“I think that’s a good thing for two or three days to get away from basketball and spend some time with your family, try and kind of reset and then come back with a lot of energy,” said Goran Dragic, who is second on the team with 1,680 minutes, behind Hassan Whiteside.

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Dragic said he will relax at his home in South Florida during the break. Whiteside will not have to change his plans to visit a Caribbean Island after learning he would not be the replacement for Kevin Love on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. That honor went to the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony.

Dion Waiters is visiting family in Philadelphia.

“It’s always good to get a little mental break, physical to allow your body get back and heal,” said Waiters, who is playing the best basketball of his career over the last month. “I think it’s good to go there and relax, just get away from it, not think about it for a couple of days, relax with your family but still remember the importance of what we’re trying to get done.

“When we come back we’ve got to lock in because every game is important.”

Tyler Johnson agreed that the most important thing is to return ready to make a run at the playoffs.

“It’s going to be a big push trying to get into these playoffs,” he said. “It’s an important time to reboot by spending time with the family. I think sometimes when you focus on the game too much it’s hard for you to give yourself a realistic goal or idea of what you need to do in order to improve on this next trek. I’m going to step away for two, three days, relax get off my feet and come back ready to do.

And where will that be?

“I’m going to get out of Miami,” he said. “I’ll be on a beach somewhere else so it’s the same scenery.”

And although Spoelstra wants to see his players decompress, he also said that he is no different than his boss, Pat Riley, and will demand they not lose their edge and maintain their conditioning during the break. Riley would weigh each player when they returned from their vacation to make sure they did not have too much fun.

“Why would you think for a second that would change,” said Spoelstra, who also will relax on a beach. “I’m a product of Pat Riley and his culture. That remains the same and everything we’ve always done will remain the same.”

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