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Miami Heat’s improved rebounding key in win streak

Since the start of the Miami Heat’s three-game win streak, Miami has been in a league of its own when it comes to rebounding.

Not only is the Heat averaging 56 rebounds a night during this win streak, Miami is also doubling up its opponents on the offensive glass, picking up 58 offensive rebounds compared to 29 offensive rebounds given up.

The Heat now ranks second in the league in offensive rebounds (12.7 per game) and third in overall rebounding (48).

“Our team is different,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “The game is different. We’re trying to maximize our strengths as much as possible, for better or worse. This is something many of our guys do well, and we don’t want to discourage that. It’s one of the big strengths of our offense right now.”

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It proved to be a pivotal strength in the Heat’s 101-99 win over the Houston Rockets on Thursday. Miami outrebounded Houston 61-41, including a remarkable 20-8 advantage in offensive rebounding. Hassan Whiteside and Derrick Jones Jr each recorded six offensive rebounds. Four of Kelly Olynyk’s nine rebounds were on the offensive side. Bam Adebayo added nine rebounds as well, with two on the offensive glass.

“Against a team like Houston, they do such a terrific job of switching and flattening out your normal movements and getting you out of your normal rhythm that often times the best opportunity is take your first open look,” Spoelstra said. “And then bigs have to be big and take advantage of those matchups on the glass rather than trying to post up the mismatches where they can trap, double, speed you up a little bit. So our bigs really had an impact in the paint on both ends of the court and that’s a strength of ours, so we want to continue that.”

The Heat’s guards certainly appreciate the effort.

“We need that,” Dwyane Wade said. “We need those extra possessions. It’s great when we have the game where we’re making all our shots, but that’s not going to happen all the time.”

Waiters making ‘great progress’

Spoelstra said Friday that guard Dion Waiters, who has not played a game since March 17, 2017, while dealing with an ankle injury, is continuing to get closer to being game-ready.

“He’s passed virtually everything up to this point,” Spoelstra said. “We’re just trying to get him more work.”

Spoelstra reaffirmed that Waiters is a full participant in practice and is going through contact drills.

It’s just a matter of time before he sees the court.

“He’s been out a year,” Spoelstra said. “He’s making great progress.”

Dragic rehabbing

Spoelstra said point guard Goran Dragic, who underwent surgery on his right knee on Wednesday and is expected to be out about two months, was in the Heat’s practice facility on Thursday receiving treatment before the game again Houston.

While that doesn’t necessarily indicate an expedited rehab, it was a positive sight nonetheless for Spoelstra.

“I thought that was awesome,” Spoelstra said. “I know Goran. I know his fortitude, his character. Whatever they say it will be, he’s going to be pushing for an earlier date. But only his body will know.”

Prior to the injury, Dragic was averaging 15.3 points and 4.9 assists per game.

Duncan Robinson on Saturday re-joined the Heat from the Sioux Falls as part of his two-way contract.

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