Of all the teams in the East, the Miami Heat have been the biggest surprise of the season. Without any real big names outside of newly acquired Jimmy Butler and head coach Eric Spoelstra, nobody expected Miami to actually be a contender in the East. But they are. Nobody in the league wants to face Miami in the playoffs, and that might be the reason they actually make the NBA Finals.
While the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and even the Toronto Raptors have better odds to reach the Finals on paper, the Miami Heat are slowly developing into a very tough team to beat in the East. Here are the four major reasons why the Miami Heat will shock everyone and compete in the NBA Finals.
The Heat are a very good defensive team. They are an 11th ranked defensive team spearheaded by defensive star Jimmy Butler and All-Star Bam Adebayo. Miami always seem to hold teams to low scoring performances on a consistent basis, games which they usually win.
Most recently against Milwaukee, they held runaway favorite Giannis Antetokounmpo to only 13 points on 6-18 shooting. This is not the first time Miami beat Milwaukee, as they are not 2-0 over the current best team in the league.
Miami always plays up to the level of the opposition, and the defense is their main calling card. If they can manage to focus their defensive efforts on minimizing the impact of superstars such as Giannis, Tatum, Siakam, and Embiid; the Heat might have enough in the tank to sneak into the Finals.
Whenever you watch Miami, you know what you are going to get. Tough defense, ball movement, and good shots. Since the very first game of the season, this is what they have been best at since they rank 8th in the league in assists per game. Being consistent is not easy in the NBA, as teams are constantly pitted against opposition with different gameplans and offensive schemes. Yet, the Heat seems to always play well against everybody and their tough defense has been consistent.
Not to mention, their two All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo have been monsters all year long. They have rarely had a poor game, and always give it they’re all in terms of passing and defense. Having consistency in the East might be a major reason why the Heat is favored over the Celtics or Sixers in the Finals.
Ready For Battle
The Heat have a group of battle-tested veterans in the forms of Jimmy Butler and Eric Spoelstra. Spoelstra was the architect behind the Miami Heat Big Three that won two straight NBA Finals. While they had a ton of talent, Spoelstra and even Pat Riley knew how to organize their squad to get the best out of them every single game.
Spoe’s knowledge of the game of basketball and experience playing in the biggest games will come in great handy in the playoffs. In fact, he has the most edge of every Eastern Conference contender besides Toronto’s Nick Nurse; who only has one Finals appearance to his name.
Jimmy Butler is another battle-tested veteran who does not back down from anyone and will do whatever it takes to win. Jimmy always ups his game in the playoffs, and he is exactly what the Heat need to sneak into the Finals.
While Miami is a very good team that the entire league respects, they seem to be void of any real expectation in comparison to teams like the Bucks and 76ers. This goes great in their favor, as they can work hard and reap results without any pressure of performing under the bright lights. Not to mention, their leader Jimmy Butler has never been a player with heavy expectations and has managed to reach his All-Star status through hard work and sacrifice. Having that kind of attitude in the locker room is deadly, especially when many seem to overlook you.
The Miami Heat have only one goal in mind as they reach the playoffs: play hard, leave it all on the floor, and do whatever it takes to win. That attitude is perfect when nobody expects you to win, and the Miami Heat might have enough to shock everyone and play in the NBA Finals.