News

Dwyane Wade to Have Jersey Retired by Miami Heat

Dwayne Wade is coming home.

A Miami Heat legend will get his due in February. According to a report from the Orlando Sun Sentinel, Dwayne Wade will have his jersey retired on February 22 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. This will be exactly two years and two weeks after Cleveland traded Wade back to Miami.

When you look at his resume, it’s truly impressive in regards to what Wade did throughout the course of his career. A three-time NBA champion, the 2006 NBA Finals MVP, and a 13-time NBA All-Star are just some of the things he has accomplished. Wade had success from the get-go,  making the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2004.

In addition to those accomplishments, he was named the MVP of the All-Star Game in 2010 and was the NBA scoring champion in 2009. That year, he scored 30.2 points per contest. It was the best season of his career, and a performance that is not going to be forgotten.

Although the years with Lebron James were some of the best in Miami Heat history, the 2006 NBA Finals was where Wade was able to make his most significant mark in the postseason.

2006 a major year in Miami Heat history

Wade played in 23 games in the 2006 postseason, starting all of them. He made 219-of-441 field goal attempts, scoring 653 points.  That was Dwayne Wade at his best, and it was fascinating to see him  play at that high a level. The way that Wade and Shaquille O’Neal held down the fort during that run was impressive. That was just one of the many highlights for Wade in what was a storied career.

Do you want tickets? You’re going to have to pay up. According to prices from StubHub, the lowest possible seat cost at the moment is $158.10. If you want to pay that, you’ll be sitting in Balcony Corner, seat 403.

For a night like this, it’s worth it. Wade embodied the Miami Heat from the time he arrived in the organization.  It will certainly be great to see him back home at American Airlines Arena.

Erik Spoelstra defines a max player: Butler (and not Whiteside?)

It was a simple question about missed shots.

But it was natural for some to interpret part of the answer as an subtle shot.

OK, here’s how it started:

I’ve noticed a trend.

Jimmy Butler shoots poorly, as he did Thursday against the Toronto Raptors, making just 2-of-10 from the floor.

The Miami Heat win anyway, as they did, 82-74, to rise to 25-9 on the season.

And, according to the betting data here, they’re listed as significant favorites to win tonight’s game against Orlando so things continue to look good for them, even when Butler isn’t connecting consistently from anywhere but the foul line.

In fact, the Heat are now a ludicrous 11-2 when Butler makes five or fewer field goals in a game. So it’s not an especially small sample size. Butler has done everything well in his debut season with the Heat (defense, rebounding, passing, playmaking and especially leading). Especially except shoot well from beyond 10 feet. His percentages from every spot on the floor, past that distance, are his worst since his rookie season, when he was a benchwarmer for Chicago. He’s already had 12 games this season, including Thursday, when he shot under 37 percent. That happened only 14 times all of the 2018-19 season with Philadelphia and Minnesota combined.

So I merely presented the odd 11-2 number to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra after the win, acknowledging that he likely wouldn’t want Butler to keep shooting below his career marks simply to see if the Heat can win anyway.

Here’s the exchange, in full:

As you see, ESPN Sportscenter picked it up.

Why?

Well, in part because it’s a thoughtful assessment about what is really important to winning, and why Butler has been so critical for the Heat.

Spoelstra said he wasn’t concerned about the shooting. Then he pivoted.

“That’s what young players should learn coming into the league, of what a max player actually is,” Spoelstra said. “It’s not about stats. It’s not about that final number on the boxscore. It’s not about whatever 2k numbers you can get. It’s not. It’s about how your team functions and are you winning because of a player? And there is no debate about this. He’s having an incredible impact on our winning, on our bottom line, and why we chased him so hard as a max player. That should be the definition from here on out. But it’s not. It’s not clouded. It becomes about stats…”

OK, so on its face, that’s simply high praise of Butler.

So why did everyone, in the responses to the videos, start tagging @YoungWhiteside, for now-Blazers center Hassan Whiteside?

A few reasons for the connection.

Many know the checkered history between Spoelstra and Whiteside, though both have mostly praised the other since the Heat shipped Whiteside to Portland for Meyers Leonard and Mo Harkless, who was eventually dealt to the Clippers to clear enough space for Butler. Spoelstra’s frustration with Whiteside was evident the past couple of seasons, and it was mutual. Now it’s clear that Whiteside needed to go for Bam Adebayo and the team to thrive.

This was detailed on Heat media day, in my column.

But it’s the “2K thing” mostly.

That was Whiteside’s thing.

Remember Whiteside exploding on the scene, and actually winning Heat fan hearts by joking (well, not really) that he just wanted to “get my 2K rating up,” for the video game that so many players and fans play?

It stopped being cute when Whiteside began pouting about his role and touches, and it seemed as if he was more concerned with stat compiling than winning, often stranding teammates in search of blocks.

Now that Whiteside’s gone, suddenly the ball moves more on offense, with elite passing big man Bam Adebayo taking his place. Suddenly the pick-and-roll coverage is better, with Adebayo storming the perimeter to disrupt drivers before they even get near the rim. And suddenly the Blazers are struggling to make the playoffs, after making the Western Conference Finals without Whiteside last season.

And suddenly — and this can’t be overstated — Spoelstra has appeared happy again.

(And he keeps talking about “max players” and what they should be; Whiteside, of course, was given a max by Miami.)

Still, maybe Spoelstra didn’t mean anything toward Whiteside, and this was all about Butler. Certainly the Heat and Spoelstra will say so now, with Whiteside and his team making their only appearance at American Airlines Arena this season, this upcoming Sunday. We’re not necessary expecting a tribute video, but the Heat tend to go the classy route, so who knows?

Whatever was meant, or not, by Spoelstra here, this certainly makes an interesting subplot even more intriguing. Contrary to what Whiteside may have believed, the Heat now have shooters everywhere — including one from the podium, who didn’t miss his intended or unintended target Thursday.

 

Ethan J. Skolnick, the CEO of Five Reasons Sports Network, will relaunch his Season Ticket column next week with a column about Butler’s impact in other ways.

Miami Heat’s 2-3 Zone Causing Problems

The Miami Heat’s 2-3 zone is giving certain teams fits.

Sometimes a simple solution is also the most effective in a complex NBA season.

Whether it be a matchup substitution or a defensive game plan, many times the obvious answer is in plain sight.

The Miami Heat stifled the Philadelphia 76er’s on Wednesday thanks in part to a seldom used zone defense, at least in today’s NBA.

We all know the Heat do things differently, most of the time it works out.

 

Catching professional coaching staffs by surprise is often a challenge, but occasionally an outside-the-box strategy can yield great results.

With a short rotation due to injuries, Miami Heat head coach Erik Speolstra has needed creativity as an ally.

The zone defense is particularly effective against teams that lack elite outside shooting.

Philadelphia fits that bill in the sense of volume, they take the fifth fewest three-point attempts in the league.

They shoot a decent percentage (36.2) but are streaky at that range.

We all know one guy that opposing defenses will gladly allow to launch from beyond the arc.

 

The zone is nothing new to the Heat as they have employed this season, but in live game action on the fly it can be effective.

Philadelphia shot just 12-for-39 (30.8%) from deep and did not attack the zone effectively with Joel Embiid until it was too late.

Miami has the athleticism to defend inside-out and crash the defensive boards, the Heat out-rebounded the 76ers 56-47.

Josh Richardson was just 3-of-10 from three-point range and Tobias Harris 2-of-6.

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown countered late with Furkan Kormaz (2-of-3 from 3pt) but it was not enough.

 

 

Teams will try to replicate the Heat’s formula against Philadelphia and similarly structured teams.

Like Dallas did in their 117-98 blowout to give the 76ers their second straight home loss.

Once again Philadelphia struggled from three-point range, this time converting just 10-of-34 (29.4%) attempts.

Miami has employed the strategy mostly out of necessity, it is not their ideal defense by any stretch.

How long it continues will be dependent on factors such as player availability and matchups.

It also protects players such as Bam Adebayo from foul trouble as there are three players on the baseline to pack it in.

Miami again employed the zone for stretches in their 129-114 win Friday, New York also put up a 10-for-34 mark from deep.

As long as the opponent complies and the bench is short, we may be in the zone for a minute.

Attrition may Have Uncovered Potent Lineup for Heat

A potent lineup for the Heat may have revealed itself.

The Miami Heat have somehow managed to maintain course despite crucial injuries to Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic.

 

Miami has started to show some vulnerability, as evidenced by their first truly bad loss of the year at Memphis.

Jimmy Butler needs a break.

However the team once again found enough gas Wednesday to end Philadelphia’s undefeated run at home.  The common denominators for most Heat lineups lately have been Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Kendrick Nunn.  That trio has been in the top three lineups for Miami in terms of minutes per game, with Duncan Robinson and Meyers Leonard rounding things out.

Switching to Airplane Mode

One intriguing combination has been to bring in Derrick Jones Jr. for Meyers Leonard early and late.  Leonard typically opens each half but has not been utilized much, if at all down the stretch.  Jones, Jr. has been seeing a huge increase in minutes recently due to several factors, including the razor thin rotation Erik Spoelstra has to work with.  That faith has been rewarded as Jones continues to carve out a more significant role.  Over the last seven games, DJJ is averaging nearly 30 minutes per game and is starting to feel it from downtown.  He is 6-for-13 in his last four games and has scored in double figures three times in that span, while his defense has also made a huge impact.

 

The lineup featuring Butler/Jones, Jr./Adebayo/Robinson/Nunn has been used in just three games going into Wednesday.  Yet in that limited sample the numbers have been encouraging and perhaps worth a look.  Rebounding is a legitimate concern without a second traditional big however, time will tell how the scales balance in that aspect.

 

Butler has been all that Heat fans could have hoped for but is exerting a ton out there. He struggled in his latest return to Philadelphia and is logging a Thibodeau-ian amount of minutes lately.  Butler is playing almost 39 minutes per contest in December which is nearly six minutes more than his career average. His 26.3 usage rate this season would be the second highest total of his career if maintained.

While DJJ has been a key cog in the wheel, the emergence of Adebayo is what has held things together.  The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week has continued to carry the load on both ends.  Adebayo is the anchor, not only on defense but from the high post where his skill set shines.  Bam is averaging 18/11/5  in December and his ability to finish on the pick-and-roll, or run things from the top, has kept defenses off balance.

Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson have been inconsistent but when they are on, they give this group the scoring from the perimeter it needs.  Nunn erupted for 26 points at Philadelphia and has hit half his three-point attempts on this road trip. If he can start making the easy plays and distribute the ball, expect another nice progression from the rookie.  Meanwhile, Robinson has been feast-or-famine, but when he’s eating the whole offense changes.  He has become a comfortable second option on the perimeter when the initial action doesn’t hit, while doing just enough on defense.  Robinson is shooting over 47% from deep this month and is getting almost six minutes more per game.

The lineup is shooting 59.6% overall and 52% from deep, while averaging a 3.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.  On the opposite end they are holding opponents to just 40% shooting, including 26.5% from beyond the arc.  Conversely, they are 6.5 points better overall than the opponent so far.  Perhaps that is why they were the “Five on the Floor” to close the game out in Philadelphia.

When Dragic (and Winslow?) return, it will likely shake up the backcourt rotation once again.

For now, we may be seeing this group again when it counts.

Heat’s Bam Adebayo Wins East Player of the Week

Bam Adebayo took home his first Eastern Conference Player of the Week award for games played Dec. 9th to Dec. 15th.

His stat line included his first two career triple doubles, and the Miami Heat went 2-1 in that span.

 

Lebron James was his counterpart in the Western Conference this past week, and showed his respect to the 22-year old Adebayo via Twitter.

 

James earned the honor in part to the Lakers victory over Miami last week, Adebayo follows Jimmy Butler as back-to-back winners of the award.

In case you were wondering, it has been a little while since the Heat had consecutive winners.

Adebayo has stepped into the spotlight with his usual workmanlike effort and is quickly gaining momentum as a Most Improved Player candidate.

Perhaps even greater honors could be in store.

With the arrival of Jimmy Butler Miami acquired the alpha they were desperately seeking.

What many outside observers may not have realized, there was another star quietly blossoming.

All Adebayo needed was the opportunity to show why he was coveted by Pat Riley and the Heat organization.

Now that the time has arrived, Adebayo is seizing the moment to enter the upper echelon of NBA big men.

We knew it all along.

Now the rest of the NBA world is finally catching up.

Follow us on Twitter for the most complete Miami Heat coverage anywhere @5ReasonsSports.

Subscribe to the Five on the Floor Miami Heat podcast here.

Related:

 

Exclusive: The Reason for Dion Waiters’ Latest Suspension

 

During another grueling back-to-back, which the Miami Heat split — this time against the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks — it was apparent they could have used another playmaking guard who could break down the defense and get to the basket, thus taking some burden off All-Star Jimmy Butler. That’s been the reality in many games lately, as Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow recover from injuries.

So why isn’t Dion Waiters available to help the now 19-7 team?

Five Reasons Sports Network has learned the primary reason for Waiters’ latest suspension, this one for six games and his third of the season totaling 14 games. The active suspension, officially for “failure to adhere to team policies, violation of team rules and continued insubordination” was levied Dec. 12 and extends through the Heat’s Dec. 23 game against the Utah Jazz.

According to three sources, it was inspired by an Instagram post of Waiters hanging out on a boat during a time when the team was made to believe he was unavailable because he was sick. Waiters’ Instagram account (@Waiters3), with more than 350,000 followers, is now private, and no such photo is currently still posted as a regular picture post or Instagram story. But apparently the Heat saw something that troubled them.

According to one source, on its own, this infraction may not have warranted such a lengthy suspension, but it’s due to the cumulative effect of all of Waiters’ distractions, cutting against the team’s valued “Culture” during what has been a less tolerance approach to the season. (Heat president Pat Riley acknowledged after the 2018-19 season that he had “let the culture slip” and would not again). Hassan Whiteside, with his tendency to be mopey and me-oriented, was sent to Portland in a trade that netted team-first center Meyers Leonard. Another veteran, James Johnson, has had his own problems getting back in the mix after being sent away from the team during training camp because he didn’t meet the Heat’s conditioning-related goals for him.

But at least he’s played a little. Waiters has not.

This 6-game suspension came after one for seven games, stemming from Waiters’ “panic attack” on a team charter to Los Angeles in November after reportedly eating a “THC infused edible.” After that incident, the Heat, coincidentally or not, played one of their least focused games of the season. And that situation came after he was suspended one game to start the season after acting out on the bench and on social media, in a way the team didn’t appreciate, especially as it reflected his attitude toward Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

According to multiple sources, that’s not all that Waiters has done to create what the team has deemed a distraction over the past few months, after what it termed “fresh start” for the now-28-year-old. The Heat originally signed him to a short, make good contract in 2016, and after he flourished during the season-ending 30-11 run, signed him to a four-year contract amid limited competition from outside suitors. Then he had ankle problems and the disagreements with the team began in earnest during the approach to his rehabilitation.

A pair of rookies, Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro, have taken minutes that many expected Waiters to get if he was fully recovered from those ankle problems this season, and in shape, which he said he was and largely appeared to be during his training camp and preseason action. And now Duncan Robinson has emerged in the perimeter rotation as well. Even so, with Winslow and Dragic sidelined, there appeared to be an opportunity for Waiters, a capable playmaker, a decent defender and an improved long-range shooter, to at least to showcase himself for a trade that would benefit both him and the Heat. Now, after this latest social media snafu, it appears even more likely that he won’t play for the team again.

The problem, of course, is finding a team that wants the rest of his contract, which expires after next season. Miami has a little more flexibility to find a trade as of today, December 15, since that is the date that many players around the league (signed in the offseason) are eligible to be moved.

But for Waiters….

“There’s been no interest,” one source said. “None. Zip.”

This latest incident won’t help. The team is reluctant to include an asset, whether a young player (such as Winslow or the emerging Derrick Jones Jr.) or a draft pick (Miami has a limited stock of second round picks) just to move Waiters.

Stay with Five Reasons Sports for more, including tonight’s new episode of the Five on the Floor podcast. The Heat play in Memphis on Monday night.

Heat/Lakers is Game Heat Nation Deserves

The Miami Heat host the Los Angeles Lakers Friday in what could be this year’s most anticipated matchup to date.

The timing could not be better.

Miami (18-6) will put their undefeated home record to the ultimate test against a Los Angeles Lakers (22-3) team which has only lost one away game.

Finally the (well deserved) national attention will be on a Heat team that is the most enjoyable in years.

All NBA eyes will be on the American Airlines Arena for the ESPN broadcast, and rightfully so.

A lot of people expected the Lakers to be here, with the combination of Lebron James and Anthony Davis along with a solid supporting cast.

However few outside our market expected this quick cohesion and success from the Heat.

An ignorant or lazy narrative on Jimmy Butler and how he would mesh with a young core.

 

A lack of understanding that Erik Spoelstra only needed a functional, uncluttered roster to free untapped greatness.

 

Now the Heat enter this game with a chance to add momentum to an ascending national profile.

Against Lebron James and a Los Angeles team which has also reset trajectory and expectations instantaneously.

The Lakers have won five straight and 15 out of 16 games, their lone defeat a 114-100 home loss to Dallas.

Miami will have their hands full with a Laker offense that leads the NBA in field goal percentage at 48.7%.

Where they hurt you is down low with Anthony Davis who absurdly leads them in points (27.2), rebounds (9.2), blocks (2.6), and steals (1.5) per game.

They do not rely on the three point shot, attempting the sixth lowest (30.1) per game, but they make them at a 37.1% clip which is fifth best league-wide.

That counters Miami’s excellent defense beyond the arc, their biggest challenge in terms of matchups may be how to stop Davis in the block – who can also stretch the floor from the outside.

The keys for the Heat

For the Heat to have a chance they will have to take care of the ball as they are turning it over a league-high 17.7 times per game. Los Angeles leads the league in blocks per game and are third in steals.

While national respect is not a motive for the Heat in any way, shape, or fashion, you know they will want to put on a show under the brighter lights.

The Lakers had an extra rest day Thursday after a 96-87 slugfest win at Orlando on Wednesday.

Miami enters off another home victory, this time a 135-121 overtime thriller against Trae Young and the Hawks on Tuesday.

Young apparently forgot the Heat are closing games this year.

 

A matchup with two teams rated in the top 10 both offensively and defensively means something has to give.

Both teams should be fresh and expect a full 48 minutes of excellent basketball in this one, the always electric Triple-A should have even more juice Friday.

As should the case for more national spotlight in Heat Nation.

 

 

Jimmy Buckets Doesn’t Hold Back on IG

All signs pointed to Miami losing their first home game last night after young Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young, hit Alex Len for an easy dunk to put them up 6.

Most considered this a dagger especially Young, which was considerable cockiness for a guy on a team that rarely wins.

This was followed by Duncan Robinson and Jimmy Butler hitting three’s on back to back possessions to send the game to overtime. Miami pulled away in overtime and ended up winning by 14. Shortly after the game, Jimmy Butler proceeded to clown the Hawks young rising star Trae Young with an Instagram video saying “this man @traeyoung is a teller of the future. he was right. game WAS over!” 

 

The comments were full of notable NBA players such as Dwade, Joel Embiid, Klay Thompson just to name a few cracking up over the post of Young prematurely calling game.  Young didn’t take the post to harsh poking fun at himself with a response on twitter laughing at his mistake and Butler’s post. 

 

 

To make things even better, Jimmy wasn’t the only person actively trolling last night either. Bam Adebayo said during his postgame press conference last night “We got shooters” a direct shot at his former teammate Hassan Whiteside. Bam couldn’t help but burst into laughter right after he said it after one of the best performances of his career posting his first triple-double. 

 

This team has been so exciting on and off the court, and it’s great to have an energy around the team we haven’t felt since the Big 3 era down here. 

Miami Heat Defeat Wizards Behind Butler Triple Double

The Miami HEAT came into Friday night’s matchup with the Washington Wizards off of a 2-1 road trip highlighted by an OT win against the Toronto Raptors.  After another road back to back loss against one of the league’s top teams, a home tilt against the sub .500 Wizards felt like a welcome respite.

Before the game Wizards coach Scott Brooks had high praise for Bam Adebayo and the Heat coaching staff saying, “(Bam) is a bonafide star big in this league.” As a thank you for the kind words, Adebayo scored a quick 10 pts in the first quarter, including a couple of butter smooth jumpers that other teams have been daring him to take.

Adebayo got some help in the 2nd quarter as Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro came to life. Despite their efforts, the Heat trailed going into the half for only the second time this season due to an uncharacteristically poor defensive effort.  The Heat struggled to contain Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans in particular, with Bertans going 4 for 7 from beyond the arc in the 2nd quarter. Kendrick Nunn continued his recent struggles with only 3 points in the first half and a couple of sloppy sequences.

The 2nd half defense was far better than the first as the Wizards – one of the most potent offenses in the league – only managed to score 38 points.  Offensively, the trio of Butler, Adebayo and Herro continued their scoring barrage but the Heat struggled to increase or even maintain a lead going into the 4th.

So with a tight game and the clock winding down, the Heat turned to their closer.  Butler was brought to Miami for a myriad of reasons, but foremost amongst them was to give Coach Erik Spoelstra the kind of closer the team hasn’t seen since Dwyane Wade left for the Chicago Bulls.

With just over a minute left and the Heat leading 108-103, Butler had seen enough. He calmly stepped into a 25 ft 3 point shot that iced the game and gave the Heat a win. In typical Butler fashion, he stomped his way to the Heat bench after the Wizards called timeout and shared some “colorful” words with his teammates.  The kind of aggressive action that may have rubbed some of his past franchises the wrong way, is embraced in Miami, if not encouraged.

Miami went on to win by a score of 112-103 as Butler finished with a triple double (28-11-11) to remain undefeated at home. Adebayo chipped in a double double (24 pts and 14 rebs), while Herro added 22 pts of his own.

But the night belonged to Butler who shared some words with this former coach Tom Thibodeau on his way off the floor.  Thibs was all smiles as he watched his former superstar close out an opponent in familiar fashion. Seemingly happy for Jimmy, as he has finally found an NBA home.

 

Miami Heat edit

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.