Advertisement

Adebayo says it’s time for Heat to make a stand at home, ‘We need to do that’

MIAMI — It might not have been optimal for the weights and balances of the Miami Heat’s return from their five-game western swing, but coach Erik Spoelstra was of the hope his team would carry some extra baggage on that flight.

Having witnessed how the sting of losses to the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers provided a wakeup call in a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, Spoelstra was of the hope similar angst took flight after Friday night’s 113-97 rebuke from the Phoenix Suns closed out the10-day odyssey at 2-3.

“There’s some really good things from this trip,” Spoelstra said. “And even the struggles I think are really important for our team. I really commend our guys for having the right approach about that, even the disappointing moments, even (Friday) just finding a way to get a lesson out of it.

“We had some major lessons from the Clippers game and the Utah game. The Utah and Clippers games pushed us into a great effort and complete game for the Laker win, and hopefully this disappointing game will propel us into a good homestand.”

The homestand opens Monday night against a Houston Rockets team coming off a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks and continues every other night at Kaseya Center, with ensuing games against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets. Those four games begin a run of 13 of 18 at home.

Beyond the opportunity to recover from three losses in their last four games, the week also affords the Heat the opportunity to make a stand at home.

The Heat open the week at 9-6 at Kaseya Center this season, the fewest home wins of any team in the top 10 in the East. Of course, amid this road-intensive start to the season, the Heat also have played only 15 home games, compared to the 21 of the Chicago Bulls, 20 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and 19 of the Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers.

“I feel like we’ve been on the road for a long time,” said center Bam Adebayo, who has recorded double-doubles in six of the past seven games. “Going home, we’ll try to protect homecourt. We need to do that.”

The Heat had posted impressive home victories over the Atlanta Hawks and 76ers before the uneven trip that opened with a victory over the Golden State Warriors.

But then came the loss to the Jazz, when the Heat lost forward Jimmy Butler to a toe injury in the third quarter, out for the balance of the trip, as well as at least for Monday night.

“I feel like we let a game get away early on in the trip,” Adebayo said of the loss to the sub-.500 Jazz.

Related Articles

Center Kevin Love said the Heat cannot allow the loss to fester after losing to a Suns team lacking sidelined Kevin Durant and Eric Gordon.

“I think naturally it would have been better to be over .500 and gotten a win (in Phoenix), go back home and be reenergized that way,” he said of instead closing 2-3 on the trip. “But we’ve got to take these next two days, get our rest, get our legs back, focus in. Because the homestand is going to be huge for us.

“It’s never easy after a long road trip to go back in that first game. We need to make sure that we bring the energy and we’re good to go in front of the home crowd. So will be a big start for us against Houston on Monday.”

As will the entire week, with each of the next four opponents arriving with young legs, the Rockets, Thunder and Magic all in the midst of major turnarounds from last season.

“We understand the four games, who we’re playing, and it’ll be a very important week for us,” Spoelstra said. “But first things first, we need to get home, get some rest, get guys healthy and see where we are.”