Tuesday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks comes three days after the Heat's first loss at home. The team supposedly recommitted itself defensively during the off days with Erik Spoelstra emphasizing that side of the ball during practice.
On Monday, Heat owner Micky Arison, team president Pat Riley and Heat CEO Nick Arison attended practice. That's not unusual, but the presence of the Heat's executives gave an indication of how displeased the Heat is with its start to the regular season. LeBron James said he was only worried about defeating the Bucks when asked about the Heat's favorable schedule over the next few weeks. The Heat doesn't play a legitimate contender for the Eastern or Western Conferences until Dec. 5 when it plays the Bulls at United Center.
“I’m only worried about Milwaukee," James said. "We’ve got to win tomorrow.”
James said Celtics forward Jeff Green hitting his game-winning shot on Saturday served as a wake-up call.
"We needed that," James said. "We come out of that game with a win, it’s a totally different story, but I think [Green] making that shot just tells the tale of what the hell has been going on with our season so far.”
With losses to the Sixers and Celtics, the Heat's defensive malaise to begin the season has been obvious. James said it was unacceptable and also suggested some players coming off injuries needed to step up their games. Wade had an offseason procedure on his knee after struggling through the 2013 playoffs and, in sitting out the second night of back to backs, has taken a cautious approach to begin the season.
"It’s an issue for everyone but you’ve got to figure out a way to go out and play motivated every night," James said. "Through seven games we played unmotivated basketball and I don’t know if it’s going through the motions, or guys are injured or coming off of injuries or a long season/short summer."
Whatever the reason for the Heat's apathy, James said it was corrected during Monday's practice.
"I don’t know what it is, but it was a great day for us," James said.