Miami Heat look to score fourth title

The combination between young stars rising with potential and old veterans making their last runs creates an NBA postseason collage like never before. Although there are many teams who are looking to claim the throne, there’s one team in particular who seems to be more equipped and determined than any other team in the playoffs: the Miami Heat. 

Miami has emerged as one of the best teams in the NBA this season. Ending the regular season with a record of 53-29, they locked up the number one seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs. Standout players including Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro are just a few of the pieces that the Heat have that have made them one of the most respected teams in the NBA.

“I’m super excited to see what they can do in the playoffs,” sophomore Kristian Hobbs said. 

Hobbs followed up with his journey with the Heat throughout the season, keeping up with their ups and downs since game one.

“Even though some games are better than others, they have definitely stayed the most consistent out of every NBA team by far; hence the best record,” Hobbs said.

The reason the Miami Heat are able to stay so consistent is because of their deep lineup. They play 12-15 different players every game while the NBA average is around 10-12. Due to this, they have more substitutions during the game, which gives the players more rest time and more energy when they are out into the game. 

For example, Tyler Herro comes off of the bench as the team’s sixth player. However, he still averaged over 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. He is one of the top role players in the NBA and in the talks for winning the NBA’s 6th Man of the Year award after the season. 

This philosophy comes from the head coach of the Miami Heat Eric Spolstera. Better known to the fans as “Coach Spo,” he has been with the organization since 1997, and officially became the head coach in 2008. He won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013 and made four straight NBA title appearances (2011-2014). Coming to the end of his 14th season as the head coach, he has orchestrated this team to be the best they can, and he’s not stopping in the playoffs. 

“Coach Spo has been like our secret weapon over the years, he doesn’t get the credibility he deserves which makes him go unnoticed sometimes,” senior Navar Maine said.

Coach Spo has a playoff record of 87-58 in his head coaching career with the Heat. 

“He’s really good at finding weak spots in other team’s offenses and defenses,” Maine said.

One of the specialties that Coach Spo has developed over the years is the ability to adapt during a playoff series. After a game or two, he will change his game plan to counter what the other team is trying to take away from them. 

For example, one of the best players in the entire league is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is a 2x league MVP, the 2021 NBA Finals champion and Finals MVP. In 2020, Coach Spo and the Heat faced off against them in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Miami doubled Antetokounmpo on almost every possession, forcing him to pass the ball and get it out of his hands. The Heat won that series 4-1 in dominant fashion. Giannis averaged under 22 points in comparison to his 30 point average that season. 

Starting this year’s playoff run against the Atlanta Hawks, it was all about stopping their own superstar, point guard Trae Young. And the Heat did exactly that. Miami had the second ranked defense in all of the NBA, and they have kept up that performance through the first round. 

In the second round, the Heat faced the star-studded Philadelphia 76ers, who have the MVP candidate center Joel Embiid. Since he was hurt the first two games of the series, he had to sit out while the Heat took a 2-0 series lead. When he returned in Game 3, he led his team to back-to-back victories and tied the series at 2-2. After Coach Spo made the necessary adjustments to account for Embiid’s presence on the court, the Heat were able to lock him down along with the rest of their offense. 

The Heat won the final two games of the series to win 4-2 and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals where they will face the Boston Celtics. They defeated the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks in a 7-game series to send themselves to the ECF, so this will be the biggest challenge Miami has faced so far in the postseason.