Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Throughout the first two seasons of the Big Three era, the Heat were always known as a "defensive team". The Heat prided themselves on winning in ugly fashion, and finished fifth in defensive rating in 2010-11 and fourth in 2011-12.
But with Miami embracing small-ball, that defensive dominance was no longer there to begin the 2012-13 season. While the lack of a true center has allowed the Heat to spread the floor and has helped turn them into an offensive juggernaut, it's hindered their ability to protect the rim.
Winning ugly no longer, the Heat's defense currently ranks 18th in the league.
Still, as mentioned when discussing Lewis earlier, the Heat's defense has greatly improved since Anthony has entered the rotation in December. In November, Heat opponents averaged 99.8 points per game. In December, Miami held their opponents to 96.3 points per contest.
If the Heat had given up 96.3 points per game since the start of the season, their defense would currently rank just outside the top 10.
The Heat are clearly putting much more an emphasis on defense than they were to begin 2012, and as the season progresses, and the team rounds more into playoff form, expect it only to get emphasized more.
Miami's poor November has essentially prevented it from finishing near the level it did defensively in the previous two seasons, but expect the Heat to ramp it up enough to finish in the top 10.