The Heat are ranked 24th in offensive rating and 17th in defensive rating. Which number are you more concerned about?
Azam: I would worry more about the offense. While Miami’s defense has been routinely awful in fourth quarters thus far, it’s largely borne out of the offense coming to a screeching halt in the final period. And with Haywood Highsmith returning and Caleb Martin hopefully close, Miami will at least soon appear to have their full stable of perimeter defenders back.
Stephanie: More concerned about the offense! The problem seems to always lie in the last minutes of the third quarter and then in the fourth quarter, our rotation seems to for some reason fall apart. There has to be less figuring things out and more solidifying as we go into this next stretch of games.
Noah: Defense, even though the offense looks awful right now. The Heat had a low-ranking offense last season and still reached the NBA Finals (of course, their offense did improve drastically in the postseason). Miami’s identity stems from their defense, so if they don’t have that, who are they?
Leo: Offensively, the Heat go through too many rough shooting patches to expect to win games. Jaquez was fulfilling the Love role of taking spot-up 3s in Wednesday’s defeat — does anything make sense anymore? Bam was 67% from the field and yet there was resistance to get him to the basket in the fourth. Herro’s volume shooting isn’t always successful, but is at least logical.
António: It’s the offense and it will continue to be. The Heat can’t get to the rim and end too many possessions with bail-out shots that take way too much time and effort to put together because they don’t have much offensive talent and you don’t play the talent you have enough. If you’re a defense-focused team, with a coach who’s a defensive specialist first and foremost and believes your players will do more on defense on grit and aggressiveness, then trust your more offensive players to do that. At least for now, when you need an injection and someone to get things done on that end of the floor, trust your offensively skilled players to produce the points you haven’t been able to.