After playing six games in nine days with four on the road, not to mention a pair of back-to-back affairs, the Miami Heat are getting a bit of a break.
Following Thursday night’s 109-102 victory in Miami over the Los Angeles Lakers, the Heat aren’t scheduled to play until Sunday afternoon, when they are host to San Antonio (ABC, 1 p.m. ET).
That should give them a bit of a chance to regroup and recuperate.
Just getting back home their last two games after playing six in a row on the road seemed to have rejuvenated their spirits some.
In both the win over the Lakers and the 93-86 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night the Heat came out and built up early leads, reversing a trend that had seem them falling behind in the first half of recent outings, including a 34-point deficit in a loss the Wizards in Washington to start the grind.
They seemed to play with more energy especially against the Lakers. Though they squandered all but four points of an early 16-point advantage against the Lakers, they never lost their lead as they had in the previous game against the Celtics.
Boston, which trailed by as many as 18 points, actually took a lead in the fourth quarter before the Heat scored the final nine points of the game for the win.
The Heat can’t be quite as careless their next two games and survive. After the Spurs visit AmericanAirlines Arena, the Oklahoma City Thunder come to town on Wednesday night, meaning that the Heat’s next two games are rematches with the teams they have dispatched in the last two NBA Finals, the Spurs last season, the Thunder in 2012.
But more than the rematch angle, two questions will be in the forefront:
-- When will Dwyane Wade play again?
-- How much more will Greg Oden be able to handle?
Oden, who is working his way back onto the floor after a four-year layoff because of injuries, played a season-high 10 minutes, 26 seconds against the Lakers.
He scored five points on 2-of-5 shooting from the field and 1-of-2 from the line, grabbed five rebounds and blocked a shot. All of his points came in the first half. He missed his only field goal attempt in the second half.
Still, the big (7-0, 273) center still seems to be making progress.
Wade looks to be another matter.
Named a starter for the Eastern Conference in voting for the All-Star game, Wade has not played since Jan. 17, missing the last four games to rest his tender knees.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said in an ESPN report there is no reason to panic as Wade continues his rehabilitation project and that he isn’t going to rush Wade back onto the floor. The recent stretch that included three pairs of games on back-to-back nights over a 12-day period did cause some wear and tear on Wade’s knees.
The schedule coming up doesn’t appear to be conducive to gaining a lot of rest, however.
The Heat play seven of their 10 games in February on the road with yet another back-to-back affair on Feb. 11-12 against Phoenix and Golden State, respectively.
After the All-Star break, they resume the regular season at Dallas on Feb. 18 and finish the month at Oklahoma City (Feb. 20) and at home against Chicago (Feb. 23) and New York (Feb. 27).