The Miami Heat have had a scorching hot start to their season. They are currently sitting with an impressive record of 24-8, which is good for 2nd in the conference. They are just coming off an OT victory at home over the 76ers (link to extended highlights at bottom of the article), who have struggled to carry the momentum that they built beating the Bucks on Christmas Day. The question remains the same about this Miami Heat squad, are they for real?
Miami has won their last 5 games and have won 8 of their last 10. They have proven to discover the clutch gene as a team, as they are currently 6-0 in overtime. The Heat have benefited not only from the signing of all-star Jimmy Butler, they have also benefited by the young core that has provided a ton of depth for them. They have 7 players who average double-digit points on their team. Let me repeat, 7 Miami Heat players this season currently average double-digit points per game!
Newcomers Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson are all averaging over 12 points per game. Rookies Herro and Nunn 14 points and 16 points per game respectively. These three as well as the growing range of Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard, and Kelly Olynyk balanced have aided this team to be ranked as the 2nd highest three-point percentage in the league. The rest of the team taking wise shots and playing within themselves has allowed this team achieve the 5th highest field goal percentage in the league.
There are only two questions when it comes to Miami’s success and whether or not it can last. Their high level of play has not traveled with them on the road. The Heat are an incredible 15-1 at home, protecting their home court better than any other team in the league. However, they are only 9-7 on the road. Although in the league rankings, they are in the middle of the pack, they must get better on the road come playoff time. The Miami Heat have averaged 117.7 points per game. On the road, they are only averaging 106.9 points per game. The good news is, they are only 32 games in and have plenty of time to right the wrongs of their road games if they can continue to protect their home court like they are doing.
The other question simply becomes sustainability once the team makes it to the postseason. A glaring question of this squad is the lack of playoff experience from this roster. Outside of Udonis Haslem who does not get any consistent minutes, not one of these players have significant NBA playoff and finals experience. Butler has proved to be a great leader for this team thus far when the pressure has been off, how will they react with the pressure on?
That is where the coaching staff and upper management step in. Erik Spoelstra has been coaching this franchise for what will be 11 seasons, and has been a part of this franchise for 22 seasons. Pat Riley, is a legendary coach and executive and between the both of them, there is plenty of experience and championships between the two, which will help navigate this franchise to the promised land. Should be an exciting season down in South Beach!
Here are the extended highlights of their game against the Sixers: