The Milwaukee Bucks are supposed to be atop the Eastern Conference standings heading into the holiday break. It’s no surprise. The Bucks are 22-3 and have won 16 straight games.
The surprise is the team at No. 2 in the East. The Miami Heat.
Miami (18-6) has won its last three straight and six of its last seven. The Heat are one of only two teams (Philadelphia is the other) to remain unbeaten at home this season. They are doing it with a blur of an offense led by Jimmy Butler, who averages 20.6 points per game.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra’s motion offense is all about screening, cutting, handoffs, and even fake handoffs. The results have been outstanding. In addition to Butler’s 20-plus points per game, he is also averaging a career-high 7.0 assists per game.
The unselfish approach to offense also heavily involves C Bam Adebayo who is blossoming into one of the NBA’s best post players. Adebayo, who is in his third season, is averaging 15.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. Being involved in the offense is paying dividends on the other end of the floor for Adebayo who is more motivated to bring it on defense.
Rookie guard Kendrick Nunn has cooled off a little but remains Miami’s second-leading scorer averaging 16.2 points per game. In addition to Butler and Nunn, the Heat offense is full of double-digit scorers. A full seven Miami players average at least 11.8 points per game.
Goran Dragic scores 15.9 points per game, Tyler Herro adds 13.9, Justise Winslow checks in at 12.4, and Duncan Robinson averages 11.8. Miami is 12th in the league in scoring and has assisted on 64 percent of all of their baskets. That is fifth best in the league. Spoelstra’s offense has the Heat on.