Your Miami Heat are off to a 3-0 start after defeating the Toronto Raptors 107-102 on Sunday night. Here is what is looking good, bad, and ugly for Miami thus far.
The Good: There has been a lot on the upside for Miami three games into the season. After losing the best player in the world, many were concerned at who would take care of all the heavy load on both sides of the floor. The answer? Everyone. Every player has contributed to the wins so far. Even on a night when Wade was horrendous (4-18 shooting against Philadelphia), the Heat managed to pull off an 18 point road victory. Role players have been coming up big as well. After a forgettable season opener for Shawne Williams, he has been 15.5 points over the last two games while shooting 50% from beyond the arc. Norris Cole already had a career high in points on opening night with 23, Chalmers added 20 off the bench on Saturday, Bosh has had two double doubles (Bosh had 6 all of last season), and Wade, even on his off night (10 assists), has been an asset every game. Every Heat player is flourishing in their role so far, which is the biggest part that is leading to success. In two of the three games, every player that got playing time scored. The Heat are second in the league in points per game, scoring 109.3 points a matchup, and these points are coming off a very impressive display of teamwork, as the Heat are also second in assists per game with 25 a game. The Heat have also been impressive in closing out games so far this season, outscoring opponents 82-63 in the fourth quarter in all three games combined.
The Bad: Although the Heat have only allowed 100 points or more once in three games, there is room for improvement in defense. In the games that Heat opponents did not score 100, they were close (95 for Washington, 96 for Philadelphia). The Heat are 14th in the league in points allowed (97.7), and there is a lot of room for improvement in the rebounding department as the Heat are ranked 21st in the league with 40.7 rebounds. The good that can come from this? The Heat only got out rebounded by 2 in Philadelphia and have outrebounded the Wizards and Raptors by a combined 23 rebounds. The Heat are also up 4 rebounds per game from last season. As for the defensive woes, the Heat had some issues against a sub-par Sixers team, but they picked it up when it mattered the most in the closing stages of the game. The defense should improve with time, as the Heat get more accustomed to playing with one another.
The Ugly: Apart from the horrendous amount of fouls the Heat committed on Sunday, there is not much “ugly” so far this season. The Heat sent the Raptors to the line 39 times and had 29 fouls. The defensive issues have not been extremely bad, so it should not be considered ugly.
Yes, it might only be three games, but there is a lot to take out from the Heat so far. After becoming the only undefeated team in the East, Heat fans are riled up. The Raptors and Wizards are both teams that were projected to be better than Miami, and the Heat were able to beat both of them early in the season. The Heat are also a new look team, a team that does not have much experience together, but they are playing with a great amount of chemistry and everything is clicking so far–and it has been pretty to watch.
By Santiago Archieri