The Heat Survive Hell Week

Honestly, I was a little nervous coming into this week. This is the week that I circled and referred to as “hell week” when I saw the teams and matchups that the Heat would have to go through. At Chicago, at Milwaukee, at Brooklyn, and then home against the surging 76ers. It was definitely a gauntlet to say the least. A true test to measure what standards the Miami Heat were able to hold and how high their potential ceiling could be in the post season. The Heat did more than survive hell week, they thrived in it. They burned it up and passed the tests with flying colors.

No Kyle Lowry? No problem. Here comes Gabe Nnamdi Vincent to the rescue with big buckets all over the place. Here comes Edrice “Bam” Adebayo with big performances and an aggressiveness that we have all been dying to see. Here comes the ascending Tyler Christopher “Baby Goat” Herro, who is rapidly becoming the Heat’s most dependable bucket amongst other skills that he has added to his repertoire. Here comes Caleb Martin (shoutout to J Cole for discovering Caleb in his gym and calling Caron Butler to get him a tryout with the Heat) with his exceptional wing defending, slashing rim attacking ability, and timely threes. Threes? Did someone say threes? I think Max Strus just knocked down another one to break the heart of the floundering Nets.

This Miami Heat team is loaded. They aren’t loaded with superstar talent that gets them noticed and talked about a ton on ESPN, TNT, or Fox Sports, but they are loaded with young underrated underestimated talent to complement their serious-minded veterans. It’s a brilliant chemistry mixture that has led to an Eastern Conference leading 43 wins this season including winning 3 of 4 during hell week. That one loss at the Bucks was a tough one-point loss where some questionable no calls went against the Heat, namely when Giannis tackled Jimmy Butler after the late inbound pass and was awarded with a jump ball when Jimmy should have been shooting free throws.

The Heat have a dominant record at home, an above average road record, and they just dispatched both of their closest rivals in the standings this week to widen their gap atop the seedings. The Heat are a season high 21 games above .500 and are in the top 10 of offensive and defensive efficiency in the league. They also lead the league in 3-point shooting percentage at a high volume while also being one of the top free throw shooting teams in the association. These are all hallmarks of legit title contenders.

The last time the Heat had metrics like this was during the Big 3 era when they went to the Finals four seasons in a row and won two championships. Now, the difference is Erik Spoelstra is regarded as one of the best coaches in basketball and the Heat are dominating despite their best players missing a ton of games. The Heat beat the Nets in Brooklyn to spoil Kevin Durant’s return to the hardwood even though they were missing three starters in Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, and PJ Tucker. Yet, the Heat had four players who scored 20 as KD pointed out in his post-game press conference.

Now that the Heat have conquered hell week, they get to get some home cooking as they play 11 of their next 12 games at home in FTX arena. The schedule doesn’t get any easier on Biscayne Boulevard, but the Heat role players tend to play even better at home. We also get to finally see what Victor Oladipo contributes to this team. Needless to say, the Heat have already drastically impressed me this season. Job well done so far fellas. Let’s keep it going.

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