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Luol Deng Starting to Find Role Within Heat Offense

USA Today Sports

Towards the end of January, the Miami Heat were in a mess with injuries, then when they were able to get players back, they started winning again. One of the reasons they are stringing together some wins is because of forward Luol Deng.

Prior to suffering an eye injury that sidelined for one game, Deng had been struggling for the Heat, averaging under 10 points per game, struggling to hit shots that Deng typically makes, and in a contract year, it wasn’t such a good look to struggle like he has.

When the Heat traveled to Chicago on January 25th, they were on the heels of four game losing streak. The Heat then went on to win their next four games, and are 5-1 over their last six games since that January 25th match-up versus the Bulls.

Part of the reason that the Heat have been better is because of their offense clicking with their strong defense. They have rattled off four 100-plus point games over the six games, and guys like Justise Winslow, Amar’e Stoudemire, Beno Udrih, and of course Deng have been the reason why.

Deng is averaging 13.8 points over the last six games for the Heat to go along with an average of 5 rebounds per contest. The Heat had been on the road basically all of January, and most of the team’s games will be on the road again in February. The practice the Heat were able to sneak in before their game versus the Bulls is looming large now.

The Heat already aren’t a strong shooting team. Goran Dragic is solid from three, Dwyane Wade hits the rare three every once and awhile, and outside of Chris Bosh and Gerald Green, no one is able to knock down the three consistently.

28% of the Heat’s threes taken in the last six games have went down. Just 28%, but yet they are scoring an average of 100 points a night now working around one of their biggest weakness. Guys like Deng and Erik Spoelstra deserve a ton of credit for this turnaround.

Deng has been activated in the Heat’s offense finally. He is not just standing around on the perimeter to hit down a shot that he isn’t consistent with. The Heat are creating better spacing by getting Deng in on cuts and getting him to drive in while they can kick the ball out to say a Gerald Green to knock down a big three.

It’ll be interesting to see if Deng can keep it up for the Heat. If he does, this Miami offense could get even better than it has looked so far.

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About Tony Montalto (2000 Articles)
Twitter: @tony_montalto

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