Five takeaways from the Miami Heat’s 108-94 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder (12-19) on Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Heat stands at 14-17 this season:
-- The Heat’s long seven-game West Coast trip was a success despite enduring a few of its most painful losses of the season along the way.
A winning record on a West Coast trip is always going to be considered a success. Miami posted a 4-3 record during the seven-game stretch away from home, which is tied for the longest road trip in franchise history.
The Heat began the trip with a 1-3 record, but closed it with three straight wins to return home feel positive about what it accomplished on the road.
The narrative changed fast for Miami on the trip after two especially painful losses.
The Los Angeles Clippers found a way to earn a 125-118 win over the Heat last Monday at Staples Center despite missing four starters, including the All-Star duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
And the Golden State Warriors rallied from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 120-112 overtime win over the Heat on Wednesday. The Warriors were missing All-NBA defender Draymond Green and rookie James Wiseman, and were forced to start 6-6 Juan Toscano-Anderson at center.
But three consecutive wins later (Thursday over the Sacramento Kings, Saturday over the Los Angeles Lakers and Monday over the Thunder), the Heat finds itself just 1.5 games out of the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami has five games remaining to play before reaching the All-Star break, with the next four games coming at home.
-- The first half was an offensive struggle for the Heat. But the second half was not.
The Heat entered Monday’s game with the NBA’s fifth-worst offensive rating, scoring 106.6 points per 100 possessions. And Miami was coming off a Saturday win over the Lakers in which it scored just 37 points on 32.4 percent shooting in.