Miami Heat are 4-5 at AA Arena and 5-4 on the road. Strange to say they are the ONLY team in the NBA that lost more home games than they won, but won more road games than they lost. The reason could be an early season scheduling oddity of tough home games and easy road games, or the challenge of performing on the road.
Home versus Road splits: New York Knicks, 9-3 vs 1-6; Charlotte Hornets, 7-3 vs 1-8; Chicago Bulls, 2-4 vs 1-10; Utah Jazz, 8-4 vs 1-7; Oklahoma City Thunder, 6-3 vs 2-8; Sacramento Kings, 4-4 vs 1-9. Those six teams are really bad away from home.
Looking at the stats, defense, or lack thereof, seems to be the primary issue. At home Miami’s defensive rating of 107 ranks a lowly 25th in the NBA, on par with the Phoenix Suns. On the road the Heat’s defensive rating of 101 is good enough for 5th place, or about the same as the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs.
Justise Winslow summed up his road warrior mentality like this.
“I’ve always kind of enjoyed the road games more than the home games. Just going to hostile environments, back against the wall, everyone wants to see you lose, and so, for you to quiet the crowd with a play, or win in a tough environment, there’s nothing better than walking out of a gym and it being silent when everyone wanted to see you lose and was kinda hating on you.”
A tidbit about Winslow’s favorite meal, which he can enjoy 365 days a year, on the road or at home.
PB & J. Or chicken and waffles.
Heat play the next three games on the road. When they get back home, they host the Hornets and then the formidable Warriors, who always present a challenge for any team in the NBA. Maybe Miami’s preference for wearing black uniforms in games at AA Arena inspires that mental toughness they need to build winning habits.
The fact that Miami is the NBA’s only team with a losing record at home, but a winning one away from it, tells something about their road warrior mentality of embracing challenges on the court.