The Miami Heat Are Setting the NBA Ablaze

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The Miami Heat Are Setting the NBA Ablaze

The Americans Airline Arena, home of the Miami Heat, gets fired up before every home game's tip-off.

The Americans Airline Arena, home of the Miami Heat, gets fired up before every home game's tip-off.

Anthony Russo

The Americans Airline Arena, home of the Miami Heat, gets fired up before every home game's tip-off.

Anthony Russo

Anthony Russo

The Americans Airline Arena, home of the Miami Heat, gets fired up before every home game's tip-off.

Japheth Oyedepo, Staff Writer

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After the departure of LeBron James, the Miami Heat have experienced a lack of any real success in the past few years. The move came after the 2014 National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals loss against San Antonio, where Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs took down James and the Heat in five games.

The last five years that have followed James’s departure have resulted in lackluster performances from the Heat with their longest playoff run taking them to the Second Round of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the playoffs.

After the retirement of Heat legend Dwyane Wade, Heat General Manager Pat Riley needed new players on the team to revive the winning ways of the Miami Heat. So far, this plan seems to be off on the right path.

The Miami Heat have a record of seven wins and three losses as of Nov. 13. This has been their best record after ten games since James’s departure, and they currently hold the second seed in the Eastern Conference behind the Boston Celtics.

This record has come with notable wins along the way. On Oct. 26, the Heat beat the Bucks in Milwaukee, just edging them out by five points. This was a win against the 2019 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Giannis Antetokounmpo, who led the Bucks to the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2019 Playoffs.

Another notable win was on Nov. 3 against the Houston Rockets. Going up against the team with the 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook and the 2018 MVP James Harden, the Heat faced a tall task; yet, they never trailed in points. The final score was a shocking 129-100 win in Miami, sounding the alarm for other teams across the NBA.

The Heat’s offseason acquisitions have become the focal point for the team’s early success. Small forward Jimmy Butler has been making a statement in his first year with the Heat. Many players of his scoring caliber, like Kyrie Irving, tend to take over a team and try to do as much scoring as possible by themselves. However, Butler has surprisingly become an unselfish play-maker in games, creating highlight plays by dishing it to his teammates.

Butler is averaging 19.4 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game and 6.6 assists per game. He is an efficient free throw shooter, making about 80% of his attempts from the free throw stripe.

“Jimmy Butler is a leader and he is going to do good things for the Miami Heat, just as he has by making us second in our conference so far,” freshman Patrick Keough said.

The NBA Draft also bore fruit onto the Miami Heat in the form of a 19-year-old from Kentucky named Tyler Herro. Herro has proven his stripes in the last 10 games, earning his spot under head coach Erik Spoelstra. Herro is averaging 13.1 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game and 2.2 assists per game. He is shooting a good average of 42% from the field, 83% from the free throw line and 37% from the 3-point line.

“The Heat have been great this year. Their offseason signings have improved their overall play and most of them fit in very well with the culture,” sophomore Pablo Velazquez said.

The final notable addition to the Miami Heat is Meyers Leonard from the Portland Trail Blazers. Leonard is best known for his 25 point first half against the Golden State Warriors in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals last season.

Traded for Heat center Hassan Whiteside, Leonard has been a hard worker, ripping down rebounds on the defensive and offensive end for the Heat. In the opening 10 games, Leonard has an average of four rebounds per game. In addition to this stat, his defensive presence has been important for the Heat, often using his large body to hinder players’ chances of scoring the basketball inside.

Although it is just the beginning of a long and hard season, there are so many bright spots on this young and hungry team. With tremendous veteran leadership and amazing young talent, the Heat have their sights set on making a deep playoff run. One thing is for sure, though: the Miami Heat are back and ready to play.

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