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News » Miami Heat Getting Inside 2009-03-29

Miami Heat Getting Inside 2009-03-29

Miami Heat Getting Inside 2009-03-29
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is counting on his team to make the hustle plays down the stretch, and that includes Monday's game against Orlando.

The Heat has lost a number of close games, mostly on the road, and Spoelstra believes it's the little things that have made the difference.

"Everybody wants to take the next step to close out these games," Spoelstra said. "It always ends up being some kind of skirmish, and those kinds of plays ... often define those games at the end."

Miami, which ranks 28th in rebounds at 39.18, had been outrebounded in nine of its last 10 games entering Saturday's contest against Milwaukee. Worse, opponents have been attacking the offensive boards with greater success, and they're turning many of those into second-chance points.

In Friday's 106-87 loss at Chicago, there was a play that typified that point. Bulls center Brad Miller out-hustled three Heat players for a loose ball. He passed to guard Derrick Rose, who drove to the lane and then threw an alley-oop to forward Tyrus Thomas, who threw a vicious dunk down on guard Dwyane Wade.

Although the Heat was just 10-10 since the All-Star break entering the Milwaukee game, Miami has had a chance to win just about every game in the fourth quarter.

"We just need to get a little tougher and learn how to close out games in the fourth quarter," Spoelstra said.

HEAT 102, BUCKS 85: The Heat turned in a complete team effort in defeating Milwaukee on Saturday. In other words, guard Dwyane Wade didn't have to swoop in and save the day.

"Heroics are great; it's great for the fans," Wade said. "But it's kind of tiring as well."

Wade finished with 27 points, seven assists and three steals. Forward Udonis Haslem added 16 points and 12 rebounds. But the real boost came from the bench, as forward James Jones had 11 points, forward Michael Beasley had 11 points and center Jamaal Magloire had four points and six rebounds.

The Heat now has a season-best six-game home winning streak with Orlando coming to town Monday. Miami also held onto the fifth seed in the East, extending its narrow lead over sixth-seeded Philadelphia.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 29, 2009


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