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Home is Where the Heat is: Why Miami Needs Home Cooking

The Miami Heat (15-6) return home Friday against Washington after finishing their three game road trip with two solid wins.

Those two wins against the Nets and Raptors showed Miami could compete with anyone away from the American Airlines Arena.

Now the Heat return home where they are 8-0 and have once again solidified their home court advantage.

This bodes well for a Heat squad that either narrowly missed the playoffs or had less than ideal postseason seeding in recent years.

Taking a look back at some of those past seasons may not be an indicator of future success, but it can provide some context on the importance of holding serve on your home floor.

The 2010-11 Heat team featuring the “Big 3”  lost in the NBA Finals to Dallas and finished 29-12 at home and 58-24 overall, the road success was equally as important that season.

Miami had winning streaks of 12, 9, and 8 games that season, but did have a four game home losing streak as well. They stepped it up on their home floor in the NBA playoffs with a 9-2 home record, winning all home games in the first three rounds before collapsing and losing two out of three to Dallas in the NBA Finals -including Game 6 to end it.

In the 2011-12 season the Heat were once again strong on their home court en route to their second NBA title, finishing with a 28-13 home mark. This team was less streaky than the previous year with a long winning streak of nine games, the Heat would have several five game runs as well.

 

Miami would elevate their play at home during the playoffs, only dropping two games. The Heat were down 3-2 to Boston in the Eastern Conference before a season saving win at the TD Center in Game 6 would set up a closeout game at home. In Game 7 Miami wore down Boston 101-88 at home and earned their second straight finals trip. Having home court in that series made a huge difference.

Miami would match up with a young Oklahoma City team featuring Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden in the NBA Finals. After dropping the opening game on the road, Miami would put their foot down and swept the next four including the last three at home.

The 2012-13 team took that earlier success to new heights on the way to back-to-back titles and they obliterated opponents at home, finishing with a 37-5 record.

During that campaign the Heat opened with a 9-0 home mark, and won 16 straight at home during their epic 27-game run overall.

That season would also end with two of the most iconic home games in Heat history.

 

Miami was down 3-2 in that series against San Antonio and on life support coming back to Miami after losing twice in the Lone Star State. Lebron James would silence the critics on his home court with a triple double (32/10/11) in Game 6, followed by dropping 37 points in Game 7.

In the last season of the Big 3 era, 2013-14, Miami would again finish with a stellar home record of 31-10. They won five straight games at home twice, and also notched a nine game run during the regular season. It seemed like the Heat were poised to win their third consecutive title once the playoffs started, Miami won all eight home games in the first three rounds on their way to a Finals rematch with San Antonio.

Home Court Taketh Away

That series would be different in one huge regard as the Spurs possessed home court, opening with a 110-95 win in San Antonio. Miami would bounce back in Game 2 and send it back to the 305, however the offense would fall apart in spectacular fashion.

The Heat would lose Game 3 111-92 and Game 4 107-86, their lowest point total of the postseason. This collapse would be too much to overcome as San Antonio would exact revenge in Game 5 on their home court 104-87 and emphatically closing the championship window for that Heat team. James would subsequently depart back to Cleveland, and a middling era of Miami Heat basketball would ensue.

Miami would miss the playoffs in the 2014-15 season and had a losing record (20-21) at home, finishing 37-45 overall and missing the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons. In the five years after losing in the finals to San Antonio, Miami missed the playoffs in three of them. In 2016 they finished 41-41 overall and just 23-18 at home, narrowly missing out on extra basketball.

Last year the Heat again missed the playoffs and played losing basketball at home, finishing 19-22 at American Airlines Arena. In a mediocre Eastern Conference outside the top group, Miami was poised for a spot in the postseason but could not get it done at home. They lost six straight home games twice and closed out the year losing five of six overall.

Needless to say, this year’s team looks much different than recent versions. The additions of Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, along with the huge advancement of Bam Adebayo has altered the course of the franchise on a dime.

With suffocating defense and timely offense, the 2019 Miami Heat are beating the teams they should.

Whether on the road or at home, they seem less susceptible to extended stretches of inconsistency this year.

While past accomplishments may not affect the present – given the history and impact of the home record, this version of the Miami Heat is on the right trajectory.

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