Basketball

Miami Heat on Fire: How They Can Remain Hot Through the Second Half of the Season

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The Miami Heat are finally rolling after a sluggish start to the 2020-21 NBA season. With the Heat on fire, can they keep it up and remain hot after the All-Star break?

Currently on a six-game win streak, highlighted by wins against the Los Angeles Lakers and league-best Utah Jazz, the Heat are finally looking like the team we all saw bulldoze their way into the NBA finals last year. What’s changed, and how can they keep their momentum?

What’s Changed?

Rebounding.

The Heat outrebounded every opponent, aside from the Atlanta Hawks, in their six-game win streak. This includes demolishing the Utah Jazz (currently ranked second in rebounding) by 14 boards. The Heat averaged 46 rebounds during this streak, 3 more than they’re averaging on the season.

Kendrick Nunn.

Nunn is playing incredibly well. During this stretch, he’s averaged 17.7 PPG, 4.8 APG, 4 RPG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.8 BPG, including stand-out performances against the Lakers, Thunder, and Hawks.

Shooting.

Were the Heat on fire? Absolutely.
During this six-game streak, the Heat shot 46.9% from the field and 37.1% from downtown; both higher than what they shot during the 2020 postseason (46% FG% and 35.9% 3P%). This is only 6 games compared to 21, so yes, it’s a stretch, but it means that the Heat are finally getting back on track.

Key Ingredients

A few players are playing their best basketball of the year. Mentioned above, Kendrick Nunn is finally playing like Heat fans expected him to this season. Who else has stepped up with the Heat on fire?

These two are the undisputed leaders of this Heat team. Playing exceptionally well off each other and anchoring both the offense and defense has made this team a threat to all opponents.

Bam is averaging 17.5 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 6.2 APG, and 1.2 BPG during the 6-game run, while Jimmy is averaging 22.4 PPG, 8 RPG, 8.8 APG, 1.6 SPG in 5 games.

Adebayo and Butler encapsulate an impressive milestone, as they are the ONLY teammates to tally triple-doubles in the same game on the same team TWICE. The last time teammates scored triple-doubles in the same game was August 13, 2020, when Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas faced the Milwaukee Bucks.

Robinson had some solid games in this win streak, averaging 15 PPG. It seems that he’s started to find his footing, scoring 20, 22, 17, and 15 points in 4 of the 6 games. In those games, he shot 47.5% from deep. If Robinson can keep finding the basket, there is no reason why the Heat shouldn’t ride his hot hand.

What’s Next?

As all hot streaks do, the Heat will cool down, but what can they do to keep the momentum?

As long as Butler and Adebayo play with the energy and aggressiveness they showed in this streak, the Heat should be fine. Both players are showing their leadership and grit on the court, and their teammates are following suit.

It looks like Erik Spoelstra has found his starting lineup, with Nunn, Robinson, Butler, Kelly Olynyk, and Adebayo starting in the majority of the stretch. With Tyler Herro back in action, Spo should look to continue bringing him off the bench in his sixth man role.

The Miami Heat are currently sitting at 17-17, 5th in the Eastern Conference. In a tight playoff race, the Heat need to ride this momentum moving into the second half of the season.

The Heat’s next matchup will be on March 2 at 6:30PM EST against the Atlanta Hawks.


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