Tag Archive for: NBA

Who are the Miami Heat’s biggest rivals?

As every great bettor knows, examining two teams’ past games can be incredibly helpful if you want to gamble on them.


That’s why we’ve prepared a detailed piece that will tell you the most important facts on the Miami Heat’s most prominent rivals — the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, and the Dallas Mavericks. Read on to learn about each one.


Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks

The rivalry between the home team of The Heatles and the Knickerbockers is a long one that began on March 2, 1989, when the two first clashed. On that day, the Knicks won by nine points, but the two have been true equals since then, giving headaches to both bettors and fans alike.


It’s hard to give good basketball betting tips for two teams that have played against each other for decades, with the Heats winning 79 games and the Knicks 77.


The two were the most poised to beat the other from 1997 to 2000 when they met in four consecutive playoff series. Many exciting and incredible things marked their games, from aggressive plays to foul calls. Interestingly, it was primarily due to one man — Pat Riley, who coached both teams and was known for his defensive style.


After that, the rivalry died down, but in recent years, we’ve all seen some sparks that might be an indication of something exciting yet to come.


Miami Heat vs Chicago Bulls

The two teams truly started competing in the 1990s, during the Bulls’ domination period, while Michael Jordan was playing. The rivalry wasn’t really a rivalry back then, as the Heat were eliminated three times by Jordan’s team, and the Bulls then won the NBA championship after each elimination.


Things started to heat up over time but took a short break until the 2006 NBA playoffs when the Heat won four games and lost only two. That same year, the Heat won the NBA finals as well.


The rivalry truly heated up in the next few years when the Bulls started playing much better and when the Heat brought back Dwayne Wade. It was also the time when the massive stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh signed up, which further intensified the rivalry.


2013 was especially interesting in this heated rivalry when the Heat managed to set a record within the playoffs for the entire NBA. They won by the largest margin ever, with the result being 115-78 in their favor.


Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic

The rivalry between the Heat and Orlando Magic is so famous that it has its own name — the Sunshine State rivalry since both teams are in the same state.


he teams first met in 1989 and have had more than 120 meetings since then. The Heat have a better record as they have more than a dozen more wins, but, interestingly, both teams have nine consecutive wins against each other.


The rivalry got heated up in the media in the early days of The Heat’s The Big Three but cooled off from 2012 onward. We had only one exciting event in the 2020 All-Star Game when Aaron Gordon from the Magic and Derrick Jones Jr. from the Heat competed against each other.


Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

The rivalry between these two is not a very long one. It started only in the 2010 playoffs when the Celtics defeated the Heat four times to one.


The start of The Big Three in the Miami Heat happened around the same time, and LeBron stated that the Heat’s big three were a mirror to the Celtics’ own with their three stars Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett.


The two teams intensified their rivalry and met again in the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals when the Heat won 4-1. They were ecstatic and soon moved on to win the Eastern Conference Finals against another major rival, the Chicago Bulls.


This interesting rivalry died down when Ray Allen moved to the Heat, which felt like a massive betrayal to some of his former teammates. The animosity between the two hasn’t died down, though, that’s for sure.


Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers

The two teams played against each other many times, but the rivalry was only triggered in the 2012 playoffs when both teams went too far. During the series, each head coach was fined, while the games were marked by numerous suspensions, confrontations, and fouls. The series eventually ended with 4-2 in the Heat’s favor.


Thankfully, they were better in the following year when they met in the Conference Finals. The games were truly breathtaking, and in the end, the Heat managed to win once again, with the final score being 4:3. 2014 was similar when the Pacers lost yet again. On the other hand, the Heat went further to the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive time.


Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks

This interesting rivalry began in the 2006 Finals, which were the first for both teams. At the time, the Heat had Shaquille O’Neal and Dwayne Wade, while the Mavericks had one of the greatest power forwards in NBA’s history, Dirk Nowitzki. The games were incredible, but the Miami Heat ended up victorious after six meetups, with four wins compared to the Mavericks’ two.


After 2010, the Mavericks managed to get their rematch, even if that was during the regular season. Unfortunately for them, they never won another game in their bigger showdowns with the Heat. However, they haven’t really played against each other either, with the last postseason game being in 2011-12.


Interestingly, this hasn’t destroyed the rivalry, most notably for Mark Cuban’s comments about the Heat. The majority owner of the Mavericks even went so far as to state that hate wasn’t a big enough word to describe his extreme dislike of the Miami Heat.


New Year’s Will Start with Knicks and Raptors Fighting to Stay Relevant

Starting 2022 Off With a Bang

The two Eastern Conference rivals will face off in the first game of the new year for both teams. Traditionally, the Christmas to New Year’s period has officially kicked off the push for the playoffs. Both the Raptors and the Knicks have playoff aspirations in mind, although both are on the outside looking in for the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Knicks were touted as pre-season sleepers to finish in the top four of the East, while the Raptors are looking to accelerate their rebuild in the first season without long-time leader Kyle Lowry who left in the offseason to the Miami Heat. 

NBA Games Being Hit by COVID-19

The re-emergence and sudden spread of the Omicron variant has hit all professional sports leagues hard. From day to day, any number of players have been placed in health and safety protocols, making for thin lineups and the addition of depth players to the starting rotations. The surge has even caused the NBA to change its roster rules, allowing teams to add additional players on 10-day contracts. It is a nearly unprecedented move by the league, as Commissioner Adam Silver is adamant about not shutting the league down despite some games already having to be postponed. 

NBA Betting Implications

This season has hit sports bettors in the wallet as the game by game variance has made it difficult to predict how a team will perform, and who will even suit up for the game. With sports betting being legalized in many states, including New York, fans of the NBA have had more interest in placing wagers this season. Hometown fans of the Knicks and Raptors will likely be waiting until game day to see what the starting lineups will be for this marquee game.


To say the Knicks have been a disappointment so far this season might be an understatement. Statistically, the Knicks are one of the worst teams in the league against the spread, as well as straight up. New York fans can review Knicks predictions at Caesars online sportsbook NY to see the latest odds and lines of their favorite team. 


With online sports betting approaching full legalization in the new year, plenty of New Yorkers will have their eyes on this matchup against the Raptors. Caesars online Sportsbook provides some incredible rewards and bonuses for new users from New York. The Caesars brand is one of the most respected and recognized names in the sports betting industry!

Raptors Outlook for 2022

We the North have been far from spectacular this season, even after a hot start to the year. The Raptors have struggled at home in particular with a below .500 record. This has been a strength for this squad in the past, particularly in 2019 when the team captured the NBA Championship over the Golden State Warriors. It has been trying so far this year at times, with obvious depth pieces playing heavy minutes in the rotation. 


Injuries have also hit the Raptors as Chris Boucher and Pascal Siakim already missed the start of the season, while OG Anunoby has missed the past few weeks with a hip pointer injury. Backup center Khem Birch has also been out with injuries, leaving an already undersized Raptors team even smaller in the frontcourt. 


But there have also been bright spots including the early emergence of rookies Scottie Barnes and Dalano Banton. Barnes has certainly been more impactful by earning a spot in the starting lineup and averaging 15.6 points per game with 8.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He has been developing a three-point shot as well while averaging more than a steal and a block per game. Toronto native Banton has been a depth piece for the Raptors but has provided a nice spark off the bench at times. 


If the Raptors are going to make a push to the postseason in 2022, then much of it will land on the shoulders of point guard Fred Van Vleet. Fred is the offensive leader for the Raptors and has big shoes to fill after the departure of Kyle Lowry. He’s also been to the playoffs before and knows what it takes as the veteran presence on a team full of youth. 


Knicks Outlook for 2022

The Knicks came into the season with playoff expectations after a surprise season last year that saw them fall out of the playoff race towards the end of the season. It was a motley crew of veterans led by power forward Julius Randle, but the youth movement is coming on in New York with RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin leading the way. 


But there has also been a dark cloud hanging over the Knicks as star point guard Kemba Walker has found himself in head coach Tom Thibodeau’s doghouse. Walker has been removed from the starting lineup and replaced with Alec Burks due to defensive inefficiency, which has caused a rift between the dressing room and Thibodeau. This type of turmoil usually either rallies a team or sends them off the rails, making for a very volatile situation.


The Knicks will be without point guard Derrick Rose for the next eight weeks following ankle surgery, so it does seem likely that Kemba will see more action. But Thibodeau has also been giving more playing time to youngsters like Immanuel Quickley, the 2020 first round draft pick out of Kentucky. To add to the carousel of guards, prospects Miles McBride of West Virginia and Quentin Grimes from Houston have also seen an uptick in playing time without Rose and Barrett in the lineup. 


The Eastern Conference is wide open, with the current thirteenth place team only three games out of the final playoff spot and only three and a half games back of sixth. The Knicks have the talent to make the playoffs, especially over teams like Washington and Charlotte who are both ahead of them in the standings as of now. Can the Knicks do it? It might take either moving Kemba over Thibodeau to get this team on the same page. 


Differences Between NBA and NFL Betting

Gambling is such a very huge industry. So if you think you can only gamble in casinos, you’re wrong! In fact, sports are also enjoyed by many gamblers as much as athletes and enthusiasts are enjoying watching the games. That’s why sports betting is widely practiced wherever gambling is allowed.


Among the most sought-after leagues are the NBA and NFL. Take note, betting on these leagues isn’t only popular in the US, where these games happen, but also around the globe.


If you’re not familiar with how betting on these sports works, you may want to consider these major differences they have:

Number of games and schedules

Among the key differences between the two is the number of games per season and the schedules.


For the NFL, teams will play one game per week, a total of 16 games, in every regular season. Meanwhile, NBA teams will play 82 games in a regular campaign for multiple games per week. For that reason, NBA teams will be on the road most times to follow the schedule, while NFL teams can have more time to rest and relax before getting ready for another game. That’s also the reason why the term “scheduled losses” is prominent in the NBA.


With that, bettors should know more about the condition of every player in the NBA before betting than in the NFL. Some bettors may just take it lightly but a game can turn sideways for just a single player who experiences fatigue. And that leads to another difference…

One player can change the game results in the NBA

One player may turn the tables in minutes and change the outcome of the game in the NBA. 


A roster in the NBA is typically made up of 15 players, and among them, 10 players may play anytime. On the other hand, an NFL roster will have 53 active players where 46 of them may play anytime. NFL players will be assigned whether in offense or defense, while basketball players are required to excel at both.


With that, it only takes one basketball player to change the outcome of the game, which wouldn’t be possible in football. Although an Elite QB or any player in the NFL can have a huge influence on the team’s success, an NFL team can’t win without the whole team effort.


For that reason, bettors should always consider each payer’s value for the games. So if a star player for an NBA team is injured or suspended, a bettor should take it into consideration.


If a team loses 2 players, that’s about 4% loss for the football team while 13% for basketball.  

What about the odds?

Surely, the odds for each sport are totally different. Not only that, but there’s also a big difference in when these odds will be made available to bettors. 


As mentioned, since the NBA games happen at a faster pace than the NFL, NBA becomes a daily sport. While every player won’t play every day, they will be on the court most days every week. Some days may have many games, some may not, what’s certain is that there will always be hoops to bet on from time to time.


Betting lines for the NBA come out every morning before the games, or on some occasion, on the night before. The numbers will continuously move as bets come in until the game time. But for the NFL, it’s different. Each football team will only play once a week and there will be allotted broadcast windows for the contest. As a result, odds are typically released in advance – some a week before the game.


The distance in between games will leave more time for line movement and for handicapping. In that respect, football attracts more betting volume, so it’s natural to see decent-sized shifts from the initial release to the kickoff.

Parity for NFL

What’s good about the NFL is that teams have the same odds of winning any given game, or as they say, at “any given Sunday” – regardless if it’s in the regular season or for the Superbowl. In fact, no NFL team has ever won more than 6 championships since the year 1967.


On the contrary, some NBA teams consistently win for several seasons, such as the LA Lakers and Boston Celtics who have combined for 33 championships and appeared in 51 Finals for about 68 years.


That’s the reason why NFL’s parity keeps the fans engaged in every season. However, that could also mean that it will be hard for bettors to project who ends on top in each week, in every season.


Those are the major differences in betting between the two sports. You should always remember those differences to level up your betting strategies on both NBA and NFL.

Miami Heat bracing for long absence for injured Bam Adebayo

Following a game in which he started slow, and finished strong, Bam Adebayo was asked Monday night if his hand he kept flexing during the game was OK.

“It’s fine,” Adebayo said, flexing it again, seemingly without pain. “It’s fine.”

It’s not fine.

The Miami Heat revealed Wednesday that Adebayo will have surgery to repair a torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his right thumb.

While the Heat did not provide a timetable, several sources told Five Reasons Sports Network on Wednesday afternoon that the “4 to 6 week” timetable that ESPN reported is conservative, and a best-case scenario.

Adebayo’s absence is likely to be close to double that.

That would put his return at late February or early March, not only significantly stressing the Heat’s front court rotation and starting lineup, but also taking him out of play to participate in his second All-Star game. It also derails his Defensive Player of the Year chances.

The Heat’s interior troubles are compounded by the extended absence of veteran forward/center Markieff Morris, who will miss his 12th straight game Wednesday with what the team has termed as “whiplash,” the result of a blindside hit from Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

That leaves Dewayne Dedmon as the likely starter next to forward PJ Tucker, with rookie Omer Yurtseven finding his way into the reserve rotation. It also could mean minutes for captain Udonis Haslem and former second-round pick KZ Okpala against smaller lineups.


While Adebayo had frustrated some fans with offensive inconsistency, his importance to the Heat is undeniable, as one of the league’s most dynamic, switchable defenders; a secondary ballhandler and playmaker; and a core rebounder, even if his numbers in that area had declined of late, which appeared related to some soreness in his knee. Dedmon can replicate the rebounding, and has been solid in his bench minutes as he was in his first half-season with the Heat, but he is not as versatile as Adebayo. This likely means fewer dribble-handoffs with Duncan Robinson, who is already struggling.

It also means more of an offensive burden on Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry — at least until Victor Oladipo returns from his quad surgery, which actually now could be before Adebayo is back.

Miami simply isn’t accustomed to playing without Adebayo, who has been remarkably durable since the team drafted him 14th overall out of Kentucky in 2017.

This comes at a time when the Heat, at 13-8, were pivoting to what should have been an easier stretch of the schedule, following 13 of the first 21 games on the road. The Cleveland Cavaliers, with their big frontline led by Jarrett Allen, visit tonight.

For more, follow the Five Reasons Sports YouTube channel.




Top 5 NBA Players Who Are Actually Casino Enthusiasts

It is safe to say that gambling is attractive to many people because it offers an opportunity to quickly win money. However, it also offers stimulation and excitement, which is why it popular among those who already have millions in their bank accounts. While a lot of actors and musicians are fans of casino games, many NBA players have also dipped their toe in these waters. Basketball stars can often be seen in Las Vegas and Atlantic City where they test their off-the-court skills and their luck. Let’s take a look at the NBA legends who are known for their love of gambling. 

Michael Jordan

There isn’t a basketball fan on the planet who doesn’t know his name, yet many are not aware of his fondness of casino games. Michael Jordan is undoubtedly very competitive, a trait that has helped him earn six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, ten scoring titles and ten All-NBA First Team designations, to name a few. However, this basketball legend is not just competitive on the court. In fact, he also enjoys gambling at Atlantic City casinos. He is also known for having bets with his friends, and one time he even lost a million dollars over a golf-related bet. 

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley is another NBA legend whose name is known across the planet. While he is retired, he has managed to set various records during his career with the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets. In 2006 he shocked his fans when he declared that he lost more than $10 million in casinos. He even ended up in court due to his $400,000 gambling debt to a Las Vegas casino. 

JR Smith

While many people set their gambling budget while they learn how to play online casino games, basketball player JR Smith took things to a whole new level. The former player at Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks had a suitcase at home full of cash that he used only for gambling. No one would even know about it if it weren’t for thieves who broke into his mansion and took the suitcase with those $ 15,000 in cash, among other things. 

Charles Oakley

It is no secret that a lot of ordinary Joes engage in NBA sports betting, but we rarely stop to think about that those players we bet on also like to gamble themselves. However, when betting activities occur among players, their unsettled scores rarely remain a secret. Let’s take a look at what happened between Hill and Oakley, for instance. After a game of dice, Philadelphia Sixers player, Tyrone Hill, owed Charles Oakley money. This left this basketball player filled with anger, and the whole thing escalated when he attacked Hill by throwing basketballs at him. The biggest problem was that this happened during a preseason game, and naturally, Oakley was suspended. In addition, he was forced to pay $10.000 for inappropriate behavior.

Antoine Walker

Unfortunately, Antoine Walker went from being a NBA star to being a walking cautionary tale. A Celtics player developed a taste for gambling in 2009, and his kryptonite was poker. Some say that gambling and casino games are to blame for the demise of his career. He even managed to make almost a million dollars worth of gambling debts in different casinos. As his gambling addiction got worse, he tried to tender bad checks, which earned him several felony counts. 

Casinos are not just about games, they are also about the atmosphere, people and the whole show that goes on there. Even some of the most influential athletes on the planet haven’t managed to resist the tempting casino lights. Were you surprised by any of these names?

Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA

Covid-19: Will unvaccinated NBA players be paid for games they miss?

Will unvaccinated NBA players not be paid for games they miss?


All NBA fans will be eagerly looking ahead to the start of the 2021/22 season in mid-October. A return to the full 82-game schedule is welcome and everyone will be looking to see how their favorite side gets on. With the Bucks looking to retain their crown from 2021, it could be a tremendous year in store – especially if the Heat do well!


If you cannot wait for the new season to kick into gear, it can be fun to look around and predict who might win the 2022 Finals. The current odds that most online sportsbooks are giving show the Nets and LA Lakers as favorites. With the Bucks not far behind, it could be a three-horse race for the title. Some fans will even place a futures sports bet on the team of their choice and hope to win big if it comes off! If you also find sportsbook promo codes, you can enjoy a risk-free way of backing NBA sides such as Miami Heat.


One thing that could impact on how well sides do this year is players missing games because of Covid. This may well see teams without important players for key games. One story you may have heard is that unvaccinated players will not be paid for games they miss – but is this true?


Unvaccinated NBA players not to be paid for missing games


A recent announcement from the NBA itself has confirmed the stories are true. Players who have not been vaccinated in line with local legislation will not be paid for games they miss due to Covid. It has also been reported that players who are unvaccinated cannot take part in home games in the coming year. Although it is thought that around 90% of the league’s players have had the jab, this still leaves a number who will feel they are being discriminated against for making a personal choice regarding their bodies.


How might this affect the coming NBA season?


The big question for fans is just what an effect such a ruling will have on the coming NBA season. The two main dangers may lie in top players leaving the sport altogether, and the impact on morale. Players who are punished for exercising their right not to be vaccinated may well walk away from the sport and leave it without the best talent. In addition, players who aren’t paid but stick around may be bad for team morale and hamper how the side performs. With so many players already vaccinated, though, it must be said that the overall impact of this ruling may not be too big.


NBA players punished for refusing vaccine


Recent comments from the NBA make it clear that unvaccinated players will be punished for their decision. By not paying people who refuse the Covid vaccine, it sets out a clear and – some would say – dangerous precedent in sports. As the observations from the Heat’s first pre-season match are drawn, this is certainly food for thought.


Season Primer for the Miami Heat

Check out this season preview for the Miami Heat. From major players and talking points to the first game that you simply cannot miss, this is the ultimate primer for the Miami Heat’s upcoming season. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know. 


Kyle Lowry 

Kyle Lowry is set to make a big difference for the Miami Heat this year, but will he be healthy enough to lead them to another championship? Lowry has been around for quite some time now, having played in many seasons already. However, while injuries have held him back in the past, Lowry seems ready and fit to take on a whole season with the Heat. 

Having played for many seasons on teams that severely under-performed, Lowry is ready to be a leader on a team of winners this season. And it seems like he’s got what it takes. Lowry has always been known as one of the best passers in the NBA, but now he’ll be sharing the ball with a couple of other superstars as well, which will make the Heat a much more exciting team to watch. 


Working on frontcourt chemistry

The Heat seems to have a strong frontcourt now, but getting them to work together as a cohesive unit will be key

The Heat’s current roster seems stacked with talent and it might be hard for some of the players to find enough minutes. As such, it’ll be interesting to see how the coach deals with the problem.

While it’s clear that this team can play well, Miami will need to work on their form before they take on any big teams. The Heat might have a tough first few weeks of the games coming up, but once they get their aggression back they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.


One game you must watch 

The first game of the season is the Heat vs. the Bucks on October 22nd. This will be their first test and it’ll be a good chance for the Heat to prove their talent.

This is one to get the gambling fans going whether you’re into UFC betting, basketball, baseball, or even golf. It’s a stone-cold classic that’s guaranteed to have everyone tuned in. 


Tyler Herro 

Tyler Herro is a young player, but he’s already making big waves in the NBA. He has been impressive so far and while his stats might not be outstanding just yet, it seems that players around the league know just how talented he really is. 

One of the reasons why people think Tyler might become such a great player is the fact that he was able to play alongside some of the best players on his college team. Herro played on teams with experienced players like Grayson Allen, Cam Johnson and Luke Maye, who may have inspired younger players like Tyler to perform at their best right from the start. 

The Heat are returning to their winning ways, which means you can expect them to play some exciting basketball this season. 

Five Numbers to Know for the Miami Heat season

Fresh off of a first round sweep, things needed to change for the Miami Heat going into the 2021-2022 season. The additions of Kyle Lowry, PJ Tucker, Markieff Morris, Ömer Yurtseven, Tyler Herro’s leg day routine and others will provide a welcome shake-up for a team that looked tired of playing with each other by the end of last season. 


While it is very intriguing to dive into the X’s and O’s of Miami Heat Basketball, no one does it better than 5 Reasons’ very own, Mr. Brady Hawk, so be sure to check out one of his many articles for more insight into what the 2021-2022 Heat season will look like on the court. 


As part of a new season-long series, I will be looking into 5 noteworthy numerical trends to see if the “eye test” matches up with the numbers, or if www.nba.com/stats is telling a different story with the Miami Heat. Since there hasn’t been a single minute of basketball played this season, we will be looking into the past to find trends that potentially could paint a picture of the future: 


  • The 20-21 Miami Heat ranked 1st in PPP (1.25), FG% (62%) and EFG% (65.8%) on PnR plays that ended with the Roll Man. 


The downside to this statistic is that PnR Roll Man plays only happened 5.5% of the time (21st in the NBA). In fact, the Heat have finished in the bottom 10 of PnR roll man frequency in each of the last two seasons. Contrary to the Heat, the Kyle Lowry led Toronto Raptors have finished in the top 10 of PnR roll man frequency each of the last 4 seasons. 


A huge part of Miami’s roll-man efficiency is Bam Adebayo, who ranks 4th (1.32PPP) on players with 2 or more roll-man possessions a game. In addition to Bam, the Heat have Duncan Robinson (1.59 PPP) and Jimmy Butler (1.50PPP) who rank 2nd and 4th in the entire NBA, albeit on minimal volume. With 3 of the 5 starters being extremely efficient with their rim rolling opportunities, and the new point guard being capable of driving a high volume rim rolling offense, it makes a lot of sense to diversify the offense by adding in screening and cutting to the basket on almost every possession. 


The Goal: Maintain top 10 efficiency in PnR Roll ManPPP while increasing frequency to 7%. 


  • 31.2% : The Heat’s 3 point percentage on Pull-Up 3’s in 20-21’. 


The Heat, without any traditional shot creators, predictably struggled on pull-up 3’s in 20-21’ but should be able to come back to the league average of about 34%. The key for the Heat is to leave the Pull-Up shooting to the players who can Pull-Up from distance and shoot, and do it well. This might mean one of our best players: Butler (17% on 42 attempts) will have to be more like Tucker (0 Attempts) when it comes to shooting off the bounce. 


Pull-up 3’s are an inefficient shot; however, if that type of shot is funneled through  Robinson (37.9% on 151 attempts) or Lowry (37.7% on 175 attempts) it can provide a valuable weapon for the Heat’s offense, especially in a playoff setting where the game slows down and clean “catch and shoot” looks are at a premium. 


The Goal: Shoot 34% from Pull-Up 3’s on about 20 attempts a game, as a team.


***Sidenote: Tyler Herro has shot 33% on 2.5 Pull-Up 3 Attempts per game over his first two NBA seasons. If Herro improves this to be slightly above league average then it unlocks a potentially deadly layer to the Heat’s offense 


  • 34.2% : The percentage of Field Goals made that Bam Adebayo was unassisted on in 20-21’. 


Adebayo has improved leaps and bounds every year he’s been in the league, and quite frankly he does everything at an All-NBA level, except get his own bucket. Through 4 years in the NBA, Adebayo’s scoring output has largely been contingent upon those around him, which is not a problem at all for most centers in the league, but Adebayo, who is unlike most centers, has the ability to transform the Heat into a legitimate championship contender if he masters the art of creating for himself. The addition of Lowry will make it easy for Adebayo to up his PPG total to about 20-22 points but that number will ring hollow if Bam can be an afterthought for a team game planning against Miami in the playoffs. 


There is evidence of the scoring potential: 41 points vs Brooklyn, 32 points vs Boston in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, a team-leading .91PPP on a team-leading 10.5% frequency in Isolation in 20-21’. 


Despite being built differently, Adebayo possesses a very similar offensive skill-set to that of an Anthony Davis, he likely won’t become a primary shot creator but he can play alongside the Heat’s facsimile of Lebron in Jimmy and become someone who dominates the Elbow/Mid-Post/Baseline area with Face-ups that give him options to go into his “bag” against a slower, smaller, or weaker defenders. 


The skill-set is evident, now it is time for the mind-set to catch up. 


The Goal: Bam gets up to 37.5% unassisted on field goals made. 







  • 26: The number of starting lineups the Heat used in 20-21’ 


Injuries are outside of the Heat’s control, but having continuity is going to be key for this group. Only 4 core players from the bubble run remain on this team (Butler, Adebayo, Robinson, and Herro). Having players in the same role night-in and night-out is going to be essential, especially for the less-experienced group of Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, and Ömer Yurtseven. 


Tinkering with the rotation early on is okay, but come the dog days of the season in January, February and March, the Heat must find something that works and stick to it, whether it’s the playoff lineup or not. Take the 19-20’ Heat for example, who rolled out a sub-optimal lineup of Nunn, Robinson, Butler, Adebayo, and Leonard but that continuity led the group to a 28-10 record when those 5 took the opening tip. 


There is no reason why a more talented grouping of Lowry, Robinson, Butler, Tucker, Adebayo, five players who coach Spoelstra trusts, should not be the go-to starting lineup as long as they are healthy.


The Goal: 16 or fewer different starting lineups in 21-22’. 


  • 52: The amount of games that Victor Oladipo has played in since injuring his quadricep tendon on January 23rd, 2019. 


While I stated earlier that the Heat’s championship upside lies in Bam Adebayo, that same statement can be applied to Victor Oladipo. Despite struggling with injury over the last few seasons, it sounds like Oladipo truly believes this time will be different. If healthy, the addition of a secondary ball handler, downhill threat, primary POA defender, and passing lane menace will take Miami’s lackluster bench and turn it into one of the stronger units in the league. 


The Heat lack what Oladipo brings, and Miami can finally give Oladipo what he needs to get back to playing basketball in the way he believes he can: time. 


The main problem is getting Oladipo 100% healthy by the trade deadline. If this problem is solved, one could argue that Oladipo is going to be the most impactful acquisition that any team makes at the deadline. 


The Goal: Victor Oladipo returns by the Trade Deadline (Early February) playing how he did last year or better.

Reminiscing about Classic Basketball Video Games as Miami Heat Season Nears

When the basketball season gets underway or if a big game is taking place on the weekend, you can bet your bottom dollar that some basketball fans turn to basketball-themed games at some point. Whether it’s through playing with their favorite Miami Heat stars or simply because the temptation to silence an arrogant friend is there, basketball games are hugely entertaining. Over the years, we have seen some truly memorable releases, too. 


Many of the games which came before have helped shape the basketball gaming options of today. Of course, we have been on the receiving end of some shoddy releases over the years, but, on the whole, this particular sporting genre has served up numerous gems. As such, today’s offering is better than ever before. Fans are rushing to buy the latest releases like NBA 2K22, alongside attempting to win one of the five jackpots available in the Basketball Star on Fire slot game. It’s what has come before that we’re focussing on, though. Fans of the sport undoubtedly grew up with a basketball title they regularly played with friends or a sibling, forming a huge part of their basketball-supporting life. So many games are simply iconic.


Let’s take a look at some of them below. 


NBA Street


Released on PS2 and GameCube in 2001, NBA Street was a game many fans of today grew up with. An attempt by EA Sports to revamp 90s fan-favourite NBA Jam, NBA Street was a blast to play. Instead of serving up the traditional points-scoring method by slamming the ball in the net, the game focussed on three-on-three battles where players would aim to get the highest score possible with the best and most unimaginable tricks ever. You could do some pump-faking or slam-dunking is this classic title. 


NBA 2K13


As we’ve touched on already, fans might be flocking to snap up the latest 2K22 release, but it’s the titles that came before it that many gamers remember fondly. In the case of NBA 2K13 – which was actually produced by rapper Jay-Z – it offered some of the most entertaining All-Star Game events ever. Players would tackle the Slam Dunk Contest, the Three-Point Shootout, and the Rising Stars Challenge, as well as having the opportunity to design and then create their own sneakers to wear on court. Its online gameplay was a particular highlight, too. 


NBA Street Vol. 2


With its selection of classic hip hop tunes, four game modes, and 29 unlockable players, NBA Street Vol. 2 is a game that many basketball gamers will never forget. Released in 2003, the game was adored in particular for its Be A Legend Mode, which essentially tasked players with climbing up through the rankings and cementing themselves as a basketball legend. NBA Challenge mode was a great feature also. 




It might’ve been released on Halloween in 2000, but NBA 2K1 was far from horrifying. In fact, as basketball games go, it’s up there with the best ever. A Sega Dreamcast release, it was the first in the series to offer online gameplay. Street courts were a popular feature regularly accessed, too, as well as its impressive Franchise Mode, which enabled fans to manage a team. 


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The debate will rumble on for years to come over which NBA 2K title is best, but for those who aren’t backing the aforementioned NBA 2K1, the follow-up to it is even better. In NBA 2K2, familiar faces were added to the game. You could play with the likes of Jordan, Johnson and Bird, while also making use of a whole heap of modes.

Heat Check Gaming, like the Heat, had an up and down season

Heat Check Gaming found itself down late, with three seconds left at end of a third quarter to Mavericks Gaming, during AT&T’s “The Turn”, an important midseason tournament. 


With two seconds left, a pass found its way streaking across the court from the left corner; then with one second left, Killeyy, who just rolled his way through traffic to find space at the top of the key, found the ball, and as his player rose and the ball vacated, his players finger tips and the arenas buzzer filled the speakers. 


Time expired. 




An exciting shot, sure, but unfortunately it didn’t do much to help close a gap for HCG, which went on to lose Game One by 10 points. In a way, the sequence actually served as a metaphor for the season – brilliant shining moments, overshadowed by the inconsistency that caused a gap too wide to cross.

The moment did, however, serve as a launching point for Killeyy. 


A late season addition, brought on after being released from the Pistons, to merge into the ranks of a squad struggling to find consistency; a squad hovering around .500, that would shine bright in moments and burn dull in others. Killeyy went on to have a tournament career-high that series: 34 points and an impressive shooting split of 86 percent from the field and 89 percent from downtown.

He not only led the charge to close out the first series of the tournament, snatching a round one best out of three victory, but also gave a window to an aspiring Miami-based squad, desperate for any momentum to close out their season. After the buzzer hit double zero on Game 3, the team instantly rose out of their seats and embraced to give their newest member his praise, and rejoiced on finding some identity. 


Killeyy recounts the moment to me saying, “It was really special for me to catch fire because not only was it my birthday, but it was our first tournament together. I really wanted to make it far and show how much better of a team we’ve become.”

That moment of camaraderie and happiness, stuck with me.

This squad is only a year removed from leaving the familiarity of their home, which served as a practice arena as well living quarters, to be shuffled into a make-shift gaming pod inside a locker room of the former AAA, back and forth, daily, for practice and to play matches. 


They were quarantined and isolated away from even their coach, who would lead his squad from what can only be described as a closet (but with a bathroom of course… it is the home of Pat Riley, after all).


It was truly a season of endurance, as trials proceeded them that year.

Because not only did the team need to adapt to their environment shifting, but the world around them as well; being one of the only professional sports leagues to play in the middle of a pandemic, they also lead the charge of being a face for unity. They displayed and dedicated their platform to social reform, as ESPN picked up 2K League coverage and hosted matches live to their audience of subscribers.

Yet, these challenges didn’t rattle the athletes. They adapted, played and finished a season of 2K League, in the midst of turmoil. And when I reflect on that moment back at HCG Headquarters, after beating Mavericks Gaming in The Turn, I saw depth to their joy – depth that might just be steeped in those overcome adversities. 


Holistically, I saw a team that is putting together pieces.

The season would end shortly after that on August 19, after the squad failed to clear the second round of a elimination tournament that would of won them a playoff bid. And while it is clear this finality, in what felt like a build to meaningful playoff basketball, was difficult for the squad, it was maybe necessary.  


2K league isn’t like most professional sports – while adding pure talent can raise a squad’s ceiling, the real difference is between the ears. The split second commitment to a movement or a dribble, lock players into motion, and every slight shift of a joystick requires layers of anticipation and thought. That complication gets compacted by that decision being able to be anticipated by teammates and acted upon in an equally short time. It requires practice and game time spent together as a unit, to get real repeatable execution. 


2K isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and Derric Franklin (aka Famous Enough) knows this well. 


“It takes time” he shouts in a YouTube video where he discusses coaching tier lists. Team-building requires combining an extremely precise mix of unique and meshing skill-sets that then have to learn each other, before then executing precise timing and movement-based actions. 


“Slow progression is better than no progression” Derric said and this HCG squad proved that when they can click, they can challenge anyone in the league. And now with another season of experience under their belts, as well as more time removed from the struggles of blazing a path inside the pandemic, the team prepares for a unified push next year. 


This time, with a more stable core of talent that is ready to compete again for a 2K championship.

2K League is hosting their first ever All-Star Game and Heat Check Gaming representatives need your help to end up on that stage! Go to https://2kleague.nba.com/players/ to cast your vote!