Erik Spoelstra sends a confident message to Miami Heat defense despite struggles

March 21, 2023

“We will support all of this,” he said. “That’s it. We’re going to back it up. We can be better defensively, and that will happen tomorrow.”


The Heat still ranks eighth in the NBA in defensive rating but took a step back after halftime. The team ranks fifth in the league in defensive efficiency entering the All-Star break, allowing 111.2 points per 100 possessions.


However, that has completely upended the team’s final 13 games since returning from the break. During that span, Miami ranked just 25th in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing 117.8 points per 100 possessions.


The Heat have had some terrible games on defense lately, and four of the six games with the team’s worst defensive rating this season have come after halftime. Miami’s loss to the Chicago Bulls was the team’s sixth-worst defensive performance all season.


Miami held the Bulls to 113 points on Saturday night, losing 14. The loss dropped the Heat to 38-34 on the season, and they are now two games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.


Last Monday, the Heat faced one of the league’s worst teams, the Detroit Pistons. They’re the perfect team for Miami to turn things around, something it desperately needs if it’s going to stand out on the playing field in the East.


While the Heat still has a two-game cushion against the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks, they will likely consider a first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, or Philadelphia 76ers—a duel, depending on their strength and current status.


These matchups will be challenging, and the Heat has undoubtedly taken a step back from where they were last season.


Miami had many great defensive players in Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Gabe Vincent, Caleb Martin, and more, but the team lost ground on the defensive end after the break.


As a result, the Heat is just 6-7 in their last 13 games, preventing them from making any leaps in the standings.


Hopefully, Spoelstra can refocus his team on the defensive end because of the season leading up to the playoffs.