After NBA All-Star display, Miami Heat shift focus back to finishing strong

Shandel Richardson

Miami Heat players Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo had exhausted looks on their faces after competing in Sunday's NBA All-Star Game in Chicago.

They both talked about unwinding after a busy weekend. It was Adebayo's first experience while Butler participated for the fifth time.

"More anything, I really want to go see my family and spend some time with my friends," Butler said. "That's what I'm locked on the next two days."

Added Adebayo, "I'm tired. I'm ready to go lie down somewhere."

The Heat have one more off day before returning back to work Wednesday. It is then when the process of finishing strong begins. The Heat have 28 games remaining to solidify their playoff positioning. At 35-19, they are No. 4 in the Eastern Conference and want to secure homecourt long as possible in the postseason. They are only 1.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers and 3.5 in front of the Indiana Pacers.

"That's an emphasis we've been grinding toward and we need to do that," Adebayo said.

The Heat are looking to rebound from a disappointing road trip before the break. They finished just 1-4, losing to two teams with losing records. They were without guard Tyler Herro and forward Meyers Leonard, who were both sidelined with foot injuries. Herro could return for Thursday's game at Atlanta while Leonard is expected out longer.

"I feel like this past road trip we were slipping a little bit," Adebayo said. "We slipped a lot and we need to get back to winning habits."