MIAMI — Offensive consistency certainly was lacking as the Miami Heat began the season 1-2.
Sure, there had been moments, even spurts, during which Miami’s attack resembled that of the team that won a second straight NBA title in June.
But as Dwyane Wade said before Sunday night’s game against the Washington Wizards, it wasn’t like they lost games in the season’s opening week playing 48 minutes of Heat basketball.
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The Heat simply had a failure to communicate.
“If you’re in a relationship with a woman for a long time, you start getting comfortable, you stop doing the little things that you should do that you did in the beginning,” Wade said. “That’s kind of how it is. We’ve been together for a while. We got comfortable. We automatically think that the guy’s going to be there when he might not be there. We just didn’t communicate as much.”
That wasn’t an issue against Washington. The Heat moved the ball from start to finish better than in any of the previous three games and sailed to a 103-93 victory.
Miami had 32 assists on 37 field goals — just five unassisted baskets.
“We want to make the game easier for everybody and moving the ball is how we play together and how we can take advantage of all the talent we have,” said Chris Bosh, who scored 24 points. “A lot of guys made sacrifices to be here and it only works if we play together.”
LeBron James scored 25 points and Wade added 20 as the Big Three led the way.
Point guard Mario Chalmers had a team-high eight assists with only two turnovers in just fewer than 28 minutes.
“Moving the ball gets everybody involved, it gets everybody’s confidence going and it makes everybody want to do the little things on the court,” Chalmers said. “Even if you don’t score, you feel like you contributed.
“That’s the thing with this team. Everybody wants to feel like they can contribute something.”
In each of the previous three games, Miami’s offensive struggles contributed to slow starts. The Heat fell behind Chicago 9-2, Philadelphia 19-0 and Brooklyn 11-3 in the opening minutes.
Just one minute, 18 seconds into Sunday’s game, Miami trailed Washington 9-2.
“They made some shots and we missed some, but we didn’t panic obviously,” James said. “We were able to turn the deficit around quickly.”
James was a big reason Miami rallied back to lead 33-27 after a quarter. He scored 14 first-quarter points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 3 of 3 from 3-point territory.
More than that, coach Erik Spoelstra credited James with setting a tone with his aggressiveness.
“We talked about coming out with a much more competitive disposition, intensity at the beginning of the game,” Spoelstra said. “We put it on our starters really to get us off to a better beginning.
“Even if everything wasn’t perfect, the intensity was better and the consistent ball movement was better than it has been.”
Even on the early possessions that produced no points, the Heat moved the ball effectively.
“The ball movement was very good. Guys were giving up open shots for another guy to get an open shot,” Wade said. “It was contagious.”
Once shots started to fall, the Heat were on their way. They built a 61-48 halftime lead — shooting 57.5 percent (23 of 40) — and led by 23 entering the fourth quarter.
It seemed communication between players couldn’t have been much better.
“When you know what the problem is, you’re able to fix it,” Wade said. “When you don’t know what it is, you’re in trouble.”