MIAMI — How ridiculously talented are the Heat this year?
How ruthlessly efficient has Showtime East been on offense through five games?
It's actually become a fair question to wonder whether the Heat at times pass up too many open shots in pursuit of the perfect look.
Absent any real "noise" or early season controversy, that's the question I found myself asking Heat coach Erik Spoelstra before Wednesday's 103-73 win over the Nets.
"That may happen," Spoelstra said. "I don't see it as a concern right now."
Not with Suns forward Jared Dudley opening the week by calling the Heat "probably the most unselfish team I've ever played against."
Keep in mind Dudley was on the Suns when they led the league in scoring from 2008-10.
"Even when someone had a good shot, they would make an extra pass to someone who had an even better shot," Dudley said of the Heat. "That's the way basketball is supposed to be played."
Dudley's comment came after a 124-point Heat wave, which left them with a scoring average 3.5 points higher than the league's No. 2 offensive team (Mavericks).
It's early, yes, but the Heat used this mini-test against a rising Eastern Conference foe to build their reputation as an offensive juggernaut.
"The ball is popping, it's moving, the unselfishness has become contagious," Spoelstra said. "The ego-less part of it, I think, is one of our biggest strides right now. … The ball just moves to the open man."
It's not just the Heat's scoring average, which sits at an even 110 as they embark on a six-game road trip over the next two weeks.
Points per possession — at both ends of the floor — are much more meaningful to Spoelstra, who couldn't have had many complaints with the way the ball was moving on offense in the first half.
The Heat had just one turnover in the first 11 minutes.
They managed at least one scoring attempt on their first 20 offensive trips.
It took them 43 possessions before they went more than two consecutive trips without scoring.
They had 13 assists on their 19 first-half field goals and finished with 25 on 40.
They finished the half with a 50-41 lead on 47 possessions, a 1.06 average. That figure hovered between 1.1 and 1.2 for most of the way.
"They're hard to handle," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "Lot of different weapons. Their shooters made shots, and when you've got the best player on the planet [ LeBron James] quarterbacking your offense … it's not the easiest job."
Johnson played point guard on three teams that led the NBA in scoring. He said the Heat could "possibly" become the first Eastern Conference team since Michael Jordan's Bulls (1995-97) to lead the league in scoring.
No team from the East has averaged this many points over a full season since the '94-95 Magic of Shaq and Penny.
"Now the challenge is not getting bored with simplicity," Spoelstra said. "A lot of those plays are simple."
Trust me, that won't be the last time you see the B-word used in connection with this team.
Most expect the defending champs to run away with not just their division but the top seed in the East.
Defensively, there are some questions, but nothing major, nothing long-term.
Pretty much these next five-plus months will be spent tweaking an already potent concoction.
"We challenged our guys to be efficient," Spoelstra said. "There's really no need with this group to force contested twos, long twos, contested shots. Not when we have valid options somewhere else."
"It's an absolute major misconception if people think we're just running to jack 3s," Spoelstra said. "Average viewers watching that are missing the whole point. But our guys understand what we're trying to develop, what kind of game, whether we score 120 points or we score 100."
The Heat's days of grinding for 90 are over.
Now it's just a matter of stifling yawns between simple assists.
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