The Miami Heat are on fire at the moment. They seem to have found their rhythm at a crucial stage of the season. The team’s performance in Monday’s 105-89 win over the best team in the NBA, Milwaukee Bucks was reminiscent of the old Miami Heat side that had LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh (The Big Three) on their roster. The game also saw Miami Heat shoot an impressive 18-of-37 on 3-pointers against a Milwaukee Bucks that came into the game with an astonishing 52-8 win-loss record. Another remarkable feature of the Heat’s performance against the Bucks was the defensive solidity. On a night it mattered most, the Heat were able to stifle one of the best players in the NBA this season in Giannis Antetokounmpo, restricting him to a season-low 13 points in the game.
The win over the Bucks was their third straight victory in the space of four days and a third consecutive home win. The other wins all came against high profile opponents in the shape of Dallas Mavericks and the Brooklyn Nets. The victory over the Mavericks ensured the Heat completed an NBA double over Dallas this season.
The current run of victories sees the Heat maintain their grip on the fourth position with a 39-22 win-loss record in the Eastern Conference to stay in contention to qualify for the playoffs. They are also on top of the Southeast Division. Here is a look at some of the factors behind Miami Heat’s recent success.
The Absence of Big Names in the Team
In the past, most of the successes of a lot of NBA teams, including Miami Heat, emphasized on the signing of big names whose star power gave their teams an edge over their opponents. However, the addition of big names sometimes come with big egos that could create tension and division amongst the players in the locker room. In other instances, big-name additions have been influential figures for their teams, with Dwyane Wade being that figure for the Heat last season.
Dwyane Wade’s retirement at the end of last season meant Miami Heat entered the new season without an influential figure who won multiple NBA Championships for the team. To Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade was an embodiment of excellence in his two spells with the Miami team.
In the absence of Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat has become a team full of relatively lesser-known names who play as a collective unit instead of relying solely on a single player. As a result, every player on the Heat roster plays a crucial role in their success. The likes of Small Forward Jimmy Butler, Point Guard Goran Dragic, Power Forward Bam Adebayo, and Shooting Guard Kendrick Nunn have all stepped up at certain moments of the season.
In terms of the numbers, Jimmy Butler averages 20.5 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game and 6.2 assists per game. His 38 points from Miami Heat’s 137-106 demolition of the Philadelphia 76ers is the highest number of points to be recorded by a Miami Heat player in a single game this season. Goran Dragic has also averaged 16.3 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game and 5.1 assists per game. Bam Adebayo also averages 16.2 points per game, 10.5 rebounds per game (the highest average number of rebounds in the team), and 5.1 assists per game with Kendrick Nunn also contributing with an average 15.8 points per game, 2.7 rebounds per game and 3.5 assists per game.
For Miami Heat to gather more momentum and secure a playoff place, the whole team will have to continue putting in excellent performances from now to the end of the season.
The Addition of Andre Iguodala from Memphis Grizzlies
Miami Heat grabbed the headlines last month after securing one-time MVP Small Forward Andre Iguodala from Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade on a two-year contract. Iguodala’s arrival at Miami Heat has added extra quality and depth to the roster. The 36-year Old Iguodala’s experience as a multi-time NBA title winner with the Golden State Warriors along with his star power makes him the final piece of the puzzle for the Heat at a crucial stage of the season. He has had a slow start to his Miami Heat career, averaging 4.2 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game and 1.8 assists per game in 10 games for Miami Heat so far. He also finished the game against the Bucks with 3 points, three rebounds, and two assists.
There is still room improvement, but there is no doubt that his arrival has made a difference for the Heat in and off the court. With a lot of games remaining, he could prove to be pivotal in the race for the playoffs at the end of the regular season.
What’s next for Miami Heat?
Up next for Miami Heat is a fifth consecutive at home against Orlando Magic. Both teams have met three times this season with Miami Heat claiming two victories over Orlando who have won once.