Spoelstra wanted his team to defend better on Friday after it allowed 128 points to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a loss on Wednesday night.
“They defend very well, and we came in with the intention to defend better than we did the other night.”
He says Riley told him the past couple days that “it’s ok” to play a grind it out game. pic.twitter.com/6p6PmgPhIt
— Five Reasons Sports 🏀🏈⚾️🏒⚽️ (@5ReasonsSports) January 13, 2024
Miami certainly played a grind-it-out game, as the team allowed just 41 points in the second half to pick up a much-needed win over Orlando. The Magic have been solid this season, threatening for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
With both Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler missing Friday’s game, Miami didn’t have nearly as much offensive talent on the floor as it usually does.
Duncan Robinson (23 points on 9-of-19 shooting), Bam Adebayo (21 points on 8-of-17 shooting) and Jaime Jaquez Jr. (19 points on 8-of-16 shooting) led the way for Miami offensively on Friday.
However, the team’s defense was clearly its calling card against Orlando.
The Heat held the Magic to just 43.9 percent shooting from the field and 30.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The team also kept Orlando star Paolo Banchero in check, holding him to just 10-of-26 from the field. Banchero took more shots (26) than he scored points (25) on Friday night.
With Herro and Butler out, Spoelstra clearly knew that the team was going to have to play a slightly different style of basketball.
The Heat are fortunate to not only have Spoelstra as their head coach, but also the legendary Riley as a member of the organization. Riley was also an amazing coach during his career before he transitioned to a front office role.
The Heat are 12th in the NBA in defensive rating this season, and they’d certainly love to see that ranking go up as the season goes along.
If they play more games like they did Friday against Orlando, the Heat will eventually find themselves closer to the top of the NBA in defensive rating this season.
The Heat will look to get another win on Sunday when they take on the Charlotte Hornets at 6 p.m. EST at Kaseya Center.