Putting them­selves on a new speed limit

Heat dis­cov­er­ing that slower pace of play might serve team well

South Florida Sun-Sentinel Palm Beach (Sunday) - - Sports - By Ira Win­der­man South Florida Sun Sen­tinel

MI­AMI — This is why you have a 36-year-old im­pend­ing Hall of Famer on hand.

Be­cause when it comes to, in his own words, turn­ing to the “old­man game,” Dwyane Wade steps into his com­fort zone.

Amid a run of blown leads, a growing num­ber of turnovers and mount­ing home losses, that is the ap­proach the Mi­ami Heat turned to in Fri­day’s vic­tory over the New Or­leans Pel­i­cans. And it is one that well might con­tinue, as Erik Spoel­stra’s team moves for­ward.

“That's some­thing we've been talk­ing about in prac­tice as well (be­cause) it takes the turnovers down," Wade said as the Heat turned their fo­cus to Sun­day's visit to the Amer­i­canAir­lines Arena by the Utah Jazz.

"It was great at the be­gin­ning of the year — every­body was run­ning, run­ning, run­ning — but the turnovers were high and you're los­ing. So let's fig­ure out a way where we're go­ing to win and what’s suc­cess­ful. And right now, that's a good game for us when you look at the num­bers. We stuck with it [Fri­day] and it was good for us."

With start­ing point guard Go­ran Dragic side­lined by a swollen right knee that has had him out the past six games, the Heat's abil­ity to play at a quicker pace has been com­pro­mised. En­ter Wade, amid this self-pro­claimed "One Last Dance" 16th and fi­nal NBA season.

"He was just dis­sect­ing ev­ery­thing, play­ing at the ap­pro­pri­ate pace," Spoel­stra said. "We're re­ally us­ing him to help our other play-

mak­ers learn how to play with more pace, more poise, a lit­tle slower tempo just to get where you want to get and be able to see what the de­fense is do­ing.

"When we got flat­tened out a lit­tle bit, we rein­serted Dwyane. Ev­ery­thing just kind of came down to a calm. Hall of Fame play­ers have that kind of im­pact."

Wade closed with 18 points and just one turnover, with the Heat fin­ish­ing with 22 as­sists to only 13 turnovers.

"Just slow the game down, as I do best," Wade said. "As I've al­ways talked about, from my stand­point, just be­ing the calm­ing fac­tor for the team and con­tinue to un­der­stand de­fen­sively we're play­ing well.

“I thought we did a great [ job] of it, but of­fen­sively kind of slow it down and get the shots that we want."

The in­cli­na­tion of the Heat's youth is to play with a high-mo­tor ap­proach, an ap­proach that some­times has got­ten Josh Richard­son, Jus­tise Winslow and Bam Ade­bayo into trou­ble.

"I mean, you've got to have a good mix," Richard­son said. "You've got to be able to run and play at pace, and then you've got to be able to slow it down i n h a l f c o u r t o f f e n s e. You're not al­ways go­ing to be able to just run on peo­ple like that. So just have a good mix."

En­ter mix mas­ter Wade.

"We talked about slow­ing it down in the last cou­ple of min­utes, play­ing that old-man game, which I started smil­ing be­cause I love it," Wade said, smil­ing again. "But just get­ting good looks, run­ning our of­fense, get­ting the shots and get­ting the ball in the hands of the guys we wanted it in. And they were able to set­tle us and then we were able to get back a lit­tle bit bet­ter in tran­si­tion, so we're not giv­ing up those tran­si­tion passes."

Wade said it is too soon to say the Heat have redefined them­selves or even whether the vic­tory over the Pel­i­cans has got­ten them out of the funk that still has them with losses in eight of their last 11. But he said it also is good to know what can work for the Heat when needed.

"We've got to con­tinue with it," Wade said. "If we want to go on any kind of win­ning streak here, we've got to bot­tle up the things that were good for us [Fri­day] and do that more con­sis­tently."

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