Short break wel­comed

Heat fin­ish 13-day trip .500; 3 of next 4 games at home

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - SPORTS - By Shan­del Richard­son Staff writer

MI­AMI — Heat cen­ter Has­san White­side com­pared it to the first day of a pun­ish­ment be­ing lifted when he was a child.

That’s the eu­phoric feel­ing the Heat have about a short but much needed break af­ter their six-game, 13-day road trip. The Heat were off Mon­day and have an­other day of prac­tice be­fore tak­ing the court again Wed­nes­day against the Wash­ing­ton Wizards at Amer­i­canAir­lines Arena.

It gives them a rare breather from the con­stant grind of the NBA sea­son.

“I think we got bet­ter on this road trip,” White­side said. “It feels like we’ve been on the road for two months now. It’s go­ing to be good to sleep in your own bed and get to see your house and get back in front of Heat fans.”

The Heat ended the re­cent road trip at 3-3 but be­lieved they could have fin­ished stronger. They let games slip away at Den­ver and Detroit, in­clud­ing blow­ing an 11-point, sec­ond-half lead Sun­day against the Pis­tons. The Heat opened the trip with a 95-94 loss to the Nuggets.

“Yeah, we fin­ished 3-3,” guard Go­ran Dragic said. “If you look at the first one in Den­ver, we could have fin­ished 4-2. It’s a tough one to swal­low, but it was a good road trip.”

The brief down time gives op­por­tu­nity to cor­rect some of the mis­takes they have made. The Heat got a lit­tle too com­fort­able against the Pis­tons af­ter mak­ing 11 first-half 3-point­ers, only to shoot 2 of 14 in the sec­ond half.

“We grew,” guard Dion Waiters said. “We took steps for­ward. We got bet­ter as a team. It’s early. We’ve got a chance to make cor­rec­tions right now. Like I said, just keep mov­ing for­ward. We went 3 for 3 on the road, which is a tough en­vi­ron­ment. We’re get­ting bet­ter. We’re mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

Added guard Josh Richard­son: “We fi­nally get to go back home for a lit­tle bit. We’ll def­i­nitely take ad­van­tage of these two days to re­lax and rest and get ready to go.”

Aside from the two days be­tween games, the Heat will have ex­tended time in South Florida. They play three of their next four at home be­fore em­bark­ing on an­other four-game trip.

“We feel like we’ve been on the road for a month,” Heat coach Erik Spoel­stra said. “It’s OK to have those feel­ings. Think­ing about home, think­ing about the end of the trip, that just makes you hu­man. We all live such great lives at home.”

The trip did al­low the Heat a chance to con­tinue the ad­just­ment process. They are still get­ting ac­cli­mated to new ac­qui­si­tions and try­ing to solve iden­tity is­sues.

Still, Spoel­stra said he liked the di­rec­tion the team is headed af­ter the trip.

“I mean we grew, cer­tainly,” Spoel­stra said. “When we went out on this road trip 13 days ago I think we’re a bet­ter ball club now. Ul­ti­mately, that’s what you want. Of course right now, we feel like we could have fin­ished the road trip a lit­tle bit bet­ter. We’ll be able to main­tain the proper per­spec­tive on this as long as we’re con­tin­u­ing to get bet­ter, and like I said, we know pretty clearly what our iden­tity is now and what a suc­cess­ful for­mula is for us, and what type of pace we need to play at.”


Cen­ter Has­san White­side is glad the Heat’s road trip is over. “It feels like we’ve been on the road for two months now. It’s go­ing to be good to sleep in your own bed,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.