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Here’s How Justise Winslow Is Letting His ‘Defense Breathe Life Into [His] Offense’
- Updated: December 12, 2018
Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow has always had a knack for defensive play. However, his recent scoring surge is something that the fourth-year veteran believes is a merging of his abilities on both sides of the ball.
Winslow delivered a career-high 28 points in the Heat’s 108-105 Monday night loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, and has broken the 20-point threshold in each of his last three games. He spoke about how he’s been able to broaden his game of late:
“Honestly, I let my defense feed my offense. I just try to be that guy that can do it all defensively and when we do that we get stops. It lets my defense breathe life into my offense.”
The 22-year-old Winslow has a career scoring average of just 7.9 points per game. That’s in contrast to his recent uptick on offense that’s helped him average a career-high 11.2 points for the 2018-19 campaign entering the Heat’s Wednesday night game in Utah.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has taken notice of the change in Winslow’s game, which developed within the last month.
“I think the most important thing with Justise is he made the biggest change two or three weeks ago, really committing to becoming the player he’s supposed to be, and that’s first and foremost, make no mistake about this, a great defensive player,” Spoelstra said.
“And his confidence is growing. He’s not hunting for 30-point games, it’s all in the context of who he’s supposed to be. He’s finishing well. He’s making the right reads. He’s not making mistakes.”
Two years ago, Winslow was limited to just 18 games because of injury. There had been some debate about whether the Heat would seek to offer him a contract extension because of his limited production on offense and injury concerns. However, during training camp this year, he accepted a three-year deal worth $39 million.
That security may serve as one reason for Winslow’s newfound confidence, but he offered another consideration.
“I’m just surrounding myself with great energy and positivity,” he said.
Following the 11-15 Heat’s game against the Jazz, they’ll conclude their six-game road trip with contests in Memphis and New Orleans.