After losing four of their last five games and showing some chinks in the armor, you have to wonder, are the Miami Heat burning out?
The Heat dropped some extremely notable games in March; is it time to worry as a Heat fan? The playoff picture could look a little different in the coming weeks.
Miami Heat Drop Big Games in March
The Heat had a less-than-ideal March, dropping big games against the Bucks, Suns, 76ers, Warriors, and Nets – three of these five being Eastern Conference rivals and all five being title contenders.
In a game seemingly chalked up as a win, the Heat collapse in the fourth quarter to the dismantled Golden State Warriors. The Warriors exploded for 37 points in the fourth quarter with no Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, or Draymond Green, while Jimmy Butler and Udonis Haslem exploded with arguments.
This, along with a loss two nights prior to a 76ers team with no James Harden or Joel Embiid, seemed like the boiling point to the Heat’s kettle. However, the Heat still hold the number 1 seed in the East. What are the worries?
The Bucks are sitting at 7-3 over their last 10 games and have taken out some top teams in March. They’ve strung together a pair of wins against the Bulls and big wins against the Suns, Hawks, Jazz, 76ers, and of course, Heat.
Over the course of March, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been his usual self, averaging 32.3 points, 12.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, while shooting 58.3% from the field. Khris Middleton is also playing better than he has all season, putting up 24.2 points while shooting 46.8% from long range in march.
The Heat will need to find their chemistry again come playoff time to compete with the Bucks.
The Celtics started their season off rough, but have since exploded into a title contending team. Led by the superstar that is Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics are rolling, winning eight of their last ten games, and going 11-2 thus far in March.
Tatum is averaging an incredible 33.7 ppg and 6.8 rpg while shooting 53.9% from the field and 46.6% from downtown, while Brown is putting up 22 ppg.
The Heat will need to prepare for a gritty semi-finals matchup against the white-hot Celtics and hope their defense can cool off the shooting clinic.
Miami Heat Keys to Playoff Success
Team chemistry has seemed to be an issue as of late for this struggling Heat team. Guys not defending as a team, playing one on one basketball, and overall letting teams walk all over them. Not to mention the turnovers:
- 15 against the Knicks
- 21 against the Nets – resulting in 40 points off those turnovers
The Heat rank 26th in the league in turnovers, averaging 14.6 turnovers per game. Miami will have to improve their chemistry come playoff time if they want to make a finals run.
Believe it or not, Miami is currently the best 3-point shooting team in the league, shooting at a 37.4% clip and averaging around 13 makes a game. But with that being said, four of the top five shooting teams in the league lie in the Eastern Conference, with the Hawks at two, followed by the Bulls, Suns, and Bucks.
Volume does play a factor in this statistic, as the Heat rank 14th in 3-pt attempts and 7th in 3-pt makes, but if the Miami can keep shooting at a 37% rate, along with putting up some additional threes, it could be scary for opposing matchups.
Coming off a massive 5 year/$90M deal, Duncan Robinson is having his worst shooting season since becoming a starter, averaging 37% from deep and 39.8% overall. If Duncan can get hot in the playoffs, you might see an entirely new Heat team.
3. Tyler Herro
Tyler Herro is a potential x-factor on any given night. Averaging career highs in points per game, assists, field goal percentage, and 3-point percentage, Herro is an obvious candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award.
With the chance to explode every game, it can be hard to contain the Boy Wonder when he’s hot. Herro’s had a handful of 30+ point nights, and 21 games of scoring 25+. Don’t be surprised if you see Tyler Herro have another “bubble experience.”
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