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Heat guard Jimmy Butler believes defense is holding team back

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Heat guard Jimmy Butler believes defense is holding team back
USA Today Network

Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler knows his team is capable of winning more games, but the contender is currently 13-15 and ranks 10th overall in the Eastern Conference standings. The six-time All-Star is blaming the Heat’s close losses on pitiful defensive efforts.

“I’ve never said, and I don’t think anybody would ever tell you, that offense is our problem,” Butler said on Tuesday. “We lose track of what we have to do on the defensive end at times, which is why we lose so many games. But when we lock in and we guard, we know we’re gonna score.”

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Heat have the 14th-best odds to win the championship in 2023. Quite a number of sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers.

However, based on offensive statistics so far, Jimmy Butler is incorrect. It’s the opposite; the Heat are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NBA at the moment.

Twenty-eight games into the 2022-23 season, Miami ranks dead last in scoring, averaging 107.9 points per game. Their offensive efficiency rating ranks 27th (1.062).

Heat star Jimmy Butler says defense is a bigger cause of concern, not worried about scoring

Meanwhile, the Heat are allowing 109.3 points per game, which ranks fifth in the league. Their opponents are shooting 47.1% from the floor. While their opponent shooting percentage is considered mediocre, at least it ranks better than 13 other teams.

On Monday, the Heat held the Pacers to less than 90 points. That’s uncommon in today’s game. In their 87-82 win over Indiana, Bam Adebayo led Miami in scoring and rebounding with 22 points and 17 boards.

In the Heat’s previous meeting against Indiana on Nov. 4, the team surrendered 101 points.

“We knew coming in it was going to be by any means necessary,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the win. “If you don’t lock in and play defense, they can take a 10 or 12-point lead on you quickly. This is not an easy team to play.”

Despite allowing 115 points to the San Antonio Spurs and 115 to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Heat held the Memphis Grizzlies to 101 points in their road loss last Monday.

Miami has to find the right balance. The team is not scoring enough points from game to game. They lack consistency. In addition to the Grizzlies, the Detroit Pistons held them to under 100 points as well.

James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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