The Miami Heat will resume their regular season against the Toronto Raptors tonight. The Heat's injury report remains concerning after six weeks of the season. Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro are out, along with several other role players.
Adebayo is dealing with a left hip contusion, while Herro has been out for multiple weeks because of a right ankle sprain. The Heat's injury report ahead of tonight's contest also includes role players RJ Hampton (knee sprain), Haywood Highsmith (lower back contusion) and Dru Smith (right ACL tear).
The Heat are thin on their rotation. It could prolong their recent struggles. Miami's record has been uneven the past 10 games (5-5). It is down to 11-9 this season. The Heat are seventh in the Eastern Conference.
The extended break because of the NBA In-Season tournament quarterfinals bodes well for the Heat ahead of a grueling road trip in Toronto. It's expected to be a physically intense game between two of the NBA's most gritty teams.
Jimmy Butler calls out Miami Heat's mediocrity
Jimmy Butler never holds back on holding himself accountable. That's the case even with his team and teammates. The Miami Heat's leader didn't mince words about the team's 11-9 start after they lost 144-129 to the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 2.
“We stand right where we don’t want to be, which is very mediocre, not good, not bad, not great, not any of those things," Butler said.
“You talk about our offense, (it) has been mediocre. You talk about our defense, (it) has been mediocre," the Heat forward added. "That’s the word I would use.”
The Heat hang their hats on defense. Conceding 144 points against the Pacers was unacceptable, especially in a home game. Their offense has surprisingly been steady, but Miami isn't known to rely on it to secure the desired results nightly.
The Heat are a respectable 12th in offensive efficiency with a 114.8 rating, but they are in the bottom half defensive in 16th on defense with a 113.5 efficiency. That's likely going to be a struggle on that end until the injured Bam Adebayo returns.
He's their defensive anchor and the best player on that end of the floor. Adebayo is out indefinitely, though. The Miami Heat will be dependable on Jimmy Butler's shoulders for the time being, offensively and defensively.