Putting themselves on a new speed limit
Heat discovering that slower pace of play might serve team well
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 American-Airlines 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 in halfcourt offense. 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
Jazz at Heat
When/Where: 6 p.m., American-Airlines Arena Tickets: Available at Heat.com or
TV: Fox Sports Sun; Radio: 790-AM, 106. 3-FM,
760-AM (Spanish) Scouting report: This is the first game of the twogame season series, with the teams also to meet Dec. 12 in Salt Lake City. … The Heat swept the twogame series last season and enter on a three-game winning streak against the Jazz. … The Heat are 2-2 in the teams' last four meetings at American-Airlines Arena. … The game is the third on a four-game homestand for the Heat that ends Tuesday against the Magic. … The game concludes a three-game trip for the Jazz. … The Jazz this past week traded Alec Burks to the Cavaliers for Kyle Korver. … The Heat are coming of Friday's 106-101 victory over the Pelicans, which snapped a six-game home losing streak. … The Jazz are coming off Friday's 119-111 victory in Charlotte, now on a threegame winning streak. … Dion Waiters (ankle), Goran Dragic (knee) and Tyler Johnson (hamstring) are out for the Heat, with Derrick Jones Jr. (hamstring) doubtful and Yante Maten and Duncan Robinson on G League assignment. … For the Jazz, Tony Bradley, Tyler Cavanaugh and Naz Mitrou-Long are on G League assignment.
— Ira Winderman
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."