Head coach Erik Spoelstra frustrated with 2-5 Heat poor defensive effort

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is frustrated by what he has seen from his players during their 2-5 start, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. After finishing with the best record in the East last season, Miami has been plagued by lax defense and poor shot selection, both of which were on display as the team was outscored 71-49 in the first half Saturday by the previously winless Kings.

“Right now, this is about the collective group, how are we going to impact this thing together to impact winning,” Spoelstra said. “If we try to do it any other way, it’s going to lead to an incredible amount of frustration. Anybody that is trying to do it on their own or anybody that is trying to self will it or anybody trying to work any individual goals with this, it ain’t going to work, it ain’t going to work on either end.”

One of the few Heat players who had a good game in Sacramento was Tyler Herro, who scored 34 points, although Spoelstra dismissed it as “not in a winning effort.” Herro, who is adapting to a new role as a starter this season, said the team needs to upgrade its defense, which currently ranks 18th in the league.

“After taking five losses, especially after the first half tonight, it’s time we… lock in and decide what type of team we want to be,” Herro said. “If we’re going to just get in shootouts like in the first half, then that’s the kind of team we want to be. I know we hang our hat on defense, so we’ve got to cover for each other.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Miami has limited options for roster moves because Dewayne Dedmon and injured guard Victor Oladipo are both under trade restrictions that prevent them from being moved until January 15, Jackson adds in a separate story. He states that outside of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the rest of the team has little trade value.
  • Udonis Haslem saw rare first-quarter minutes Saturday, which shows the Heat’s lack of depth in the front court, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The 42-year-old power forward was actually the first player off the bench, replacing Adebayo after he picked up his second foul. Miami was missing Dedmon, who is suffering from an upper-respiratory infection and a foot issue, and Omer Yurtseven, who is rehabbing an injured ankle, but it appears Haslem might have a larger role than originally expected.
  • Jamal Cain, who earned a two-way contract with a strong preseason performance, will be sent to the team’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls, Winderman adds. First-round pick Nikola Jovic, who has seen limited playing time in three games, may be headed there as well once Dedmon and Yurtseven are able to play.

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