Miami Heat: Week in Paradise Focused on Defense

By Shane Phillips
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

As the Miami Heat wrap up training camp activities in the Bahamas and prepare to head back to South Beach, we are one week closer to the regular season tip-off.

So far, everything is running smooth for the defending champions. Dwyane Wade appears healthy, Chris Bosh is ready to impress and LeBron James is not discussing 2014 free agency. The Heat are focused on the three-peat and nothing else.

So, what can we make of the first week of training camp?

The headliner was defense, defense and more defense. Coach Erik Spoelstra did not run a single offensive drill on day one and focused all the energy on defense.

“Our foundation is our defense, we’ll never get away from that,” Spoelstra said.

Wade said that the week consisted of 70 to 80 percent defense.

Shifting the focus to defense is a smart strategy by Spoelstra. Miami will not struggle on offense and will find ways to score, but a solid part of their offense relies on their defense and turnovers.

The Heat thrive in the open court and on fast breaks. The speed of their lineup allows them to cause turnovers and run the ball up the court. We saw Miami struggle a bit in the NBA Finals with the San Antonio Spurs on defense. San Antonio’s ball movement kept the Heat on their toes and the rotation was slow. The Spurs and Danny Green shot the lights out from behind the three-point arc in the first half of the series.

It was a great call by Spoelstra to focus primarily on defense. The offense will be there and will continue to develop as the season progresses, but the defense must be there from the get-go.

I really like Miami’s mentality going into this season. There is a strong sense of pride, focus and maturity around the team and especially the “Big 3.” They have to keep the positive energy flowing, especially with the quest for the three-peat only a few weeks away.

Shane Phillips is a Miami Heat Writer for Follow him on Twitter @Smphil01, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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