— Luol Deng said he played “12 to 15 minutes” at power forward on Monday in the Heat’s victory against the Philadelphia 76ers. Deng is playing out of position by necessity and filling in part-time for Chris Bosh. Since Sunday, Deng has been watching and breaking down film on Bosh.
“He has proven that he can guard multiple players,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Deng. “Really he is one through four for us. Offensively, I don’t like categorizing players by old conventional standards because in our offense it really is position-less.”
In other words, someone’s gotta stretch the floor at power forward. Might as well be Deng.
— Spoelstra and the Heat have done some heavy lifting on the practice court since acquiring Goran Dragic. The team, which played offense as a snail’s pace before Dragic, is now back to pushing the tempo. It’s a bold move this close to the playoffs, but really the only way Spoelstra can finish the year considering Dragic will be a free agent after the season.
The Heat scored 119 points on Monday, which was the team’s highest scoring total of the season. Spoelstra pointed to the team’s assist total (27) as proof that the offensive is coming together. The team’s ball movement was noticeably better on Monday against the 76ers than during Friday’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
— Heat center Hassan Whiteside has eight double-doubles in 11 games. He’ll need more touches with Bosh out.
“It’s tough to replace C.B. and make that up,” Whiteside said. “He’s such a dynamic player. He averaged 22 points, so really it’s hard to replace that. We’re going to have to make up a new system now. We’re going to get it together, though.
“Normally when a team has changes, regardless of how good the players are, you just kind of have to work with it, and get used to playing with those guys.”