Even with two losses to the Charlotte Hornets.
One to the Orlando Magic.
And another to the Sacramento Kings.
Instead of playing the anticipated level above such competition, the Heat failed to measure up Tuesday night at the Spectrum Center, falling 125-113 to the Hornets.
"Even though we scored 113, we struggled to get the kind of looks that we like," Spoelstra said. "And then defensively, they just annihilated us in the paint and broken our defense down, with not too much resistance."
It was similar, in that respect, to Monday's home loss to the Kings at the start of this back-to-back set of games.
"The last two games, it's been everything," Spoelstra said. "That's the problem, you're like trying plug in a leaking dam and there's just too much."
Amid the softest portion of their schedule, the Heat found themselves dealing with a 20-point deficit against Charlotte for the second time this season.
"Thing about this league," guard Dwyane Wade said, "is when you lose, everybody's pen writes a little bit faster because everything is wrong and everything needs to change. You win, everything is fine. Never get too high, never get too low."
With the Heat's defense lacking and the starting perimeter players struggling, Charlotte took a 92-73 lead into the fourth quarter, after leading 65-55 at halftime.
Hassan Whiteside closed with 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, with Wade continuing his 3-point breakthrough with four on the way to 19 points.
But while the Heat had to work for just about every point, the Hornets continually seized the moments at the rim, veteran point guard Tony Parker guiding the offense, with 24 points and 11 assists.
There now are three days off to recover in South Florida, before a return to the road Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks.
"Get back into the lab on Thursday and roll up our sleeves and there's no easy way to get back to our identity that we want," Spoelstra said. "Things can change very quickly in this league."
Five degrees of Heat from Tuesday's game:
1. Going 10 deep: Having played a nine-man rotation to start the season, Spoelstra went 10 deep by the early stages of the second period, when he inserted Derrick Jones Jr. for the first time in four games.
Jones had missed a game with a sore foot, then was held out the following two games due to "coach's decision."
Spoelstra said before the game he would play whoever he needed to play.
"I'm open to anything," he said. "We understand the depth that we have. And I've asked guys to just be patient. I'm not going to force things."
That had Wayne Ellington still awaiting his season debut, despite being cleared to return three games ago.
"He's been doing everything behind the scenes that a human is capably capable of doing," Spoelstra said.
With Ellington out, Tyler Johnson remained in the rotation. Johnson was the lone Heat player to see action who did not score in the first half, his first points not coming until the fourth quarter, coming around to close with 12.
2. Whiteside double-double: Whiteside recorded his fifth double-double in the season's first seven games, with a sense he could offer even more if given the reins to do more.
While there are plenty of similar talents in the Heat rotation, there are none who match what Whiteside can offer.
It's almost as if he becomes an afterthought at times because his baskets are only worth two points.
Whiteside noted that the turnaround has to come on the defensive end.
"We've just got to stay on a string," he said. "When I go for the block, next man has to be there to help, so that's the biggest thing. So you have to stay on a string and help the helper."
3. One and only: Converting a pair of 3-pointers and converting three free throws when fouled on another attempt, Wade scored 11 of the Heat's 19 first-half bench points.
For the second time in as many sets, Wade played both games in the back-to-back, again entering as the first reserve.
Spoelstra said he saw no need to offer the night off.
"We're still in October," he said.
Wade, 36, said he has no expectation of making such requests in the season's remaining 10 sets, the next one dual home games in a week against the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards on Nov. 9-10.
4. Winslow's versatility: Spoelstra utilized Justise Winslow for stretches defensively at point guard against Kemba Walker.
The Heat "limited" Walker to 11 first-half points, after he scored 39 in the teams' previous meeting. Instead, it was the Hornets' other point guard. Parker, who helped fuel Charlotte's 10-point halftime lead with 13 first-half points.
Parker in the game became just the third active international player with at least 19,000 career points, joining Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol.
Walker closed with 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
5. Paint problems: A night after yielding 68 points in the paint in their loss to the visiting Sacramento Kings, the Heat allowed 32 to Charlotte in the first half.
And it wasn't as if the Hornets were doing it over the top, at times playing with Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as their power alignment. Instead, it again was a Heat defense a step -- or more -- slow with defensive rotations.
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