MIAMI -- After the Miami Heat lost to the Phoenix Suns,118-105, on Monday night to drop their seventh-straight game, head coach Erik Spoelstra didn't sugarcoat the level of desperation.
"The level of urgency is extremely high," Spoelstra said. "We gotta dig deep to get one win. That's what it is all about right now."
Spoelstra and the Heat continue to look for a midseason spark, and are now 5-10 in the new year. They got bumped down one spot in the Eastern Conference rankings, now standing at No. 8 with a 24-23 record.
The Miami Heat were out-classed by the Phoenix Suns Monday, and their seven-game skid is putting their playoff hopes at risk.
Miami didn’t have any positive points from the night, other than Terry Rozier finally breaking out at home (21 points on 8 for 14 shooting).
The rest of the team was stagnant on the offensive end, and communication was worse than ever on defense. Spoelstra’s squad ended the night shooting 39.3% from the field, with star Bam Adebayo notching eight points on 3 for 9 shooting, and Jaime Jaquez Jr. shooting 0 for 6 in his first home game back from a hamstring injury.
Phoenix led by as many as 28 points in the matchup, taking the early lead from the Heat in the first quarter and never looking back. The Suns did real damage in the painted area, out-scoring the Heat 46-32 in that category. They owned the paint on both ends. Phoenix played a 4-1 boxed in offense with a high ball screen on many possessions. This led to misreads from Miami and easy buckets for the Suns. On the defensive end they doubled every possession that got within 15 feet of the basket, forcing difficult shots for Miami.
There’s a level on confusion that hasn’t been answered from the players or staff. Jimmy Butler, who had a game-high 26 points, continues to speak on the Heat’s talent, but that’s nowhere to be found right now.
“I feel like tha lack of defense is pilling up," Butler said. "The missed shots, those are going to fall. But even if we start to make shots and we’re not guarding anybody, then it’s just a scoring game. Even though we have guys that can score at an extremely high level, everybody in this league does."
The Heat have one of the healthiest lineups they’ve had all season, but they can’t seem to put the puzzle together. Before the start of the season, depth was spoken as Miami’s most prominent asset. They seem to have a plethora of options on both ends of the floor, but collective success hasn’t been presented. Miami hosts the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday in hopes of digging out of the slump.
“I’m not concerned. I still know what we’re capable of," Butler said. "Just gotta get back to smiling on the floor and guarding."