When the Miami Heat arrive in Washington, D.C. today, they will be looking to accomplish two things. One will be to receive their well-deserved honors for winning the NBA Championship this past June from President Barack Obama in the White House. The second will be to have a bounce-back effort defensively against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
The Heat have lost their last two games against below .500 Eastern Conference opponents. In their two losses to the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, the Heat have allowed both opponents to shoot an average of 50 percent from the field, average 103 points and outrebound them by 21 boards. These horrific numbers are not what the Heat have built their defensive identity on, and having these last four days off to rest and recover will hopefully allow the Heat to get back to their fast-paced, helter-skelter like defense.
One defensive issue that Erik Spoelstra identified specifically was the lack of being able to defend the pick-and-roll. It won’t get an easier Wednesday, as the Heat will be facing one of the quickest point guards in the league in John Wall. The Wizards are a top ten team in terms of sharing the ball, so the Heat’s defensive rotations will have to be extremely tight and concise in order for the defending champs to pull out a much-needed win against the Wizards. Coach Spoelstra told ESPN:
“We were humbled this past weekend. It just shows you how this league is. We were beaten on consecutive nights, and we needed a day like today to get back to the basics and remind ourselves we have some work to do. It was a myriad of things we had to focus on to get back on track.”
Humbled indeed. The Heat seem to be on cruise control at this point in the season, but a quality win against the Wizards on Wednesday night could be the game the defending champs need to jump-start their championship caliber defense.