The Miami Heat need to get away, recharge and come back having wiped the past two weeks from their memories.
The Heat have lost 7-of-8 games heading into the All-Star break, falling from fourth in the Eastern Conference to eighth. Miami was eight games above .500 and one-half game out of the No. 3 seed when the season went south.
Now, at 30-28, the Heat are just 1.5 games ahead of No. 9 Detroit.
“It’s disappointing,” coach Erik Spoelstra said following Wednesday’s 104-102 loss at Philadelphia. “Two or three days from now, we’ll probably be able to find a little bit of perspective, and then five or six days from now we’ll be itching to get back together with this group and then get back to work and start to hone in to make a big push the last (24) games.”
The Heat have had several frustrating losses during the streak, with the seven losses by a combined 27 points. Near the top of that list was Wednesday, a game in which Miami led by 24 points early in the third quarter and were outscored by 30 points in the next 18 1/2 minutes.
Making matters worse, the Sixers entered the game one-half game ahead of the Heat in the standings and Miami would have been seventh if they had hung on for the win.
“We’ll try to get our minds off basketball a little bit and try to recharge and when we come back, every game counts,” Goran Dragic said. “We’re still in the playoffs, so we need to look (at the) positive, because we can make a run.”
The Heat built enough equity to remain in the race by winning seven in a row and 15-of-20 before the skid. But they have to turn it around when they return. After their first game coming out of the break at New Orleans on Feb. 23, Miami then plays 7-of-8 at home.
“Losing seven of the last eight is definitely a good time to reset and come back with a fresh mind and a shorter schedule to know we’ve got to get to it,” Dwyane Wade said. “And we’re playing for something. We’re playing for the playoffs. We can’t coast at all. It’s going to be high-intensity basketball first game back.”
While Wade will spend part of the break in Los Angeles for All-Star Weekend festivities and part of it moving some of his possessions from Cleveland to Miami, most of his teammates will be recovering. The exceptions are Dragic, who is playing in Sunday’s All-Star Game; and Wayne Ellington, who is competing in Saturday’s 3-point shootout.
And Spoelstra is encouraging everybody to try to step away from the game, mentally and physically.
But to an extent.
“The last two weeks, our guys have been very emotionally engaged in this season,” he said. “Each one of these games has been like a playoff game. We dropped 7-of-8 of them. That has an effect on your emotions. You try and stay steady through it and we’ll get better in these situations, but probably the timing is good for all of us, just get away, unplug.
“I want guys to relax. (But) obviously we’re the Miami Heat, I want them conditioning. They don’t have to see a basketball court; hopefully they’ll find time for a treadmill the next few days and find some beach time as well.”