MIAMI — The sky, Erik Spoelstra insists, is not falling.
The problem for the Miami Heat is the shots are not falling.
A week after moving seven games over .500 with a victory over the Charlotte Hornets, the Heat will carry a three-game losing streak into Wednesday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Kaseya Center.
Since that Jan. 14 home victory over the Hornets, the Heat have the NBA’s worst offensive rating over the last four games, the league’s worst field-goal percentage over the last four games, the league’s second-worst 3-point percentage over their last four games and over those four games are averaging a league-worst 97 points. As a matter of comparison, every other team is averaging at least 102.3 in their last four games.
“We’re going to get to work on this,” Spoelstra said after Sunday night’s 105-87 loss in Orlando. “And we have been working on this. Like I said, in December we were trending in a better direction and it’s been a rough stretch for us offensively the last handful of games. You also don’t want to totally overreact. That’s what I want our group to understand.
“After the Charlotte game, we were feeling very good about where we were. I believe seven games over .500 and we felt that we were gaining some momentum and learning how to win games. And then all of a sudden a four-game stretch we were where we are. And there’s always going to be some disappointing parts of a season, and you just have to rally around each other and get to work and start to find solutions and that’s what we’ll do.”
“Look,” Spoelstra said, “this is not necessarily about the lineups or the rotation right now. It’s about having the fortitude to play through rough stretches. That’s going to happen in this league, regardless of who you are. You have to develop a collective grit. I say this all the time, you can find different ways to win while you’re working through what you’re trying to work through, your identity, how you want to play, a flow, players being in rhythm, all that type of things. You just put yourself in position to win by grinding it out.
“We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves. Nobody cares about what we’re going through. It’s about getting together, rallying around each other and then come up with solutions when we get back to practice.”
With Spoelstra’s players recognizing that solutions are needed.
“It definitely looks bad and feels bad. But we’re going to get through it. We always do,” Herro said. “It’s just as out of rhythm as it looks. But we’ll continue to work through it and find our solutions.”
So, not panic, but a recognition of what is not good enough.
“The biggest thing,” center Bam Adebayo said, “is we’re in a rough patch right now and we’ve got to dig our way out of it.”
With actions, Spoelstra said, not words.
“We can come up with any excuse,” Spoelstra said, “And the excuses can only lead us to misery. What do we want to do? That’s not the solution for sure. I can think of a bunch of different things we can do starting on Tuesday at practice. That’s not one of ’em, for sure. Because that won’t get us anywhere.”
With a two-day break in the schedule, it opens Tuesday as a day to attack practice with perhaps more vigor than what has been on display in recent games.
“We’re going to roll up our sleeves and get to work on Tuesday,” Spoelstra said. “This is literally one week after we felt our season was starting to turn, Jimmy’s coming back, feeling we’re getting healthy, seven games above .500.
“This happens in the league and it’s all about how you respond to it. So we’re going to rally around each other, get to work, find some solutions and grind through this. That’s the character you have to develop and reveal during long NBA seasons.”