NBA marathon turns into revamped Heat survival sprint, ‘everyone is focused and focused’ – The Mercury News


The Heat are ready for an NBA Mad Dash to the finish line of the NBA regular season. (Jesse Arche, AP)

There was a period early in the season when the NBA All-Star break was nearing the halfway point.

Now there is only a sprint to the finish line, a sprint for survival for those whose playoff destiny hangs in the balance.

Teams like the Miami Heat.

That means they’re 59 down and 23 away from setting a playoff seed in the season finale on April 9.

“I love it,” said Heat manager Erik Spoelstra. did. [buyout] The autograph session will be held immediately after the break. I’d love to know who my team is for that final stretch. It won’t linger on us during the All-Star break like it used to.

“And sometimes there were nasty deals that happened after the break. It was a nightmare.”

now in heat Kevin Love signed and Cody Zeller From the buyout market, what they have at the moment is essentially all they get the rest of the way.

“And I like that everyone is focused and focused,” Spoelstra said of the players returning from the All-Star break with a clear sense of purpose. But it was a long part of the season to reach before the playoffs.

“Now you can get everyone’s best focus and energy and effort in that 23-match scramble.”

The Heat schedule resumes testing in Milwaukee and Philadelphia during a three-game trip following the break. That would be followed by a few games against teams directly competing with the Heat for playoff seeding, breaking Heat No. 7 in the East.

“I think we’ll be fine,” said forward Jimmy Butler, who used his All-Star vacation to take a trip to Argentina and attend tennis and soccer games. , No. 8, when this break is over, we’re going to win a few games, and we’re going to play against every team in front of us, if not more than once.

“So we have to show who we are made up of and who we are as a group. We don’t back down from any challenge. I think everyone knows that. So , It’s time to say, ‘Be patient or shut up.’ We have to go to the competition.”

For weeks, the Heat have been talking about moving up the standings. Instead, teams from 7th to 10th place must participate in the pre-playoff bracket, and play-in he sits in the bracket.

“We’re 23 to get where we want to go,” Butler said. “It’s all about staying healthy, and this break does it for us. Swing for the fence the right way, stay with us, know that reinforcements are on the way, get your mates back, and that’s it.” becomes a reality.”

Among the Heat’s injury concerns heading into the break are Tyler Herro (knee), Kyle Lowry (knee), Victor Oladipo (ankle), Omar Yurtsebung (ankle) and Nikola Jovic (back). Everyone was away from the team. rest.

The advantage for the Heat is that they have five two-day breaks left in the season for legitimate practice time. This is not only to strengthen the league’s fifth-best defense, but also to find answers to the 26th-ranked offensive offense.

“I actually like our defense,” Spoelstra said. I’ll clean up some things.”

Against this backdrop, it is important not only to regain speed, but also to sprint towards the finish line of the regular season.

“It’s frustrating. We know we can play better. We know we can do better,” guard Gabe Vincent said of spending this idle NBA week finishing No. 7 in the East. We know we’re just a win or two, a game or two away from getting out of that play-in…so it’s definitely time to recalibrate.”


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