The Miami Heat are currently the hottest team in the NBA. Yes, you read that correctly. No, it’s not 2013, and no, LeBron didn’t abandon Cleveland again. So how exactly did a team with an 11-30 record suddenly rip through 13 straight victories? There’s a few factors that come to mind.
First off, let’s not forget that Coach Spoelstra is no slouch. The man can flat out coach. A lot of people think that Spo only found success because of LeBron and the rest of the super team. Sure, they definitely wouldn’t have won back-to-back championships without the help of the Big 3 and Ray Allen. But that certainly doesn’t mean that Spoelstra was carried to his title like Tyronn Lue was. It took a few years to recover from losing the greatest player of our time, but it’s a good sign to see Miami finally moving in the right direction under Spo, post-LeBron era.
Most people will point to the competition as to why the Heat have found recent success. I can agree with that to a certain degree, with 3 out of the 13 wins coming against the slumping, league-worst 9-45 Brooklyn Nets. A majority of the remaining 10 wins have come against other underwhelming teams as well, such as the Milwaukee Bucks (twice), Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Chicago Bulls, and Dallas Mavericks. And although that list is far from impressive, the Heat have also managed to beat the likes of the Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, and Houston Rockets over that span. Only two teams have reached the 40-win benchmark thus far and the Heat have managed to defeat both of them during their hot streak.
The third and final reason as to why the Heat have been able to win 13 straight might be the most important of them all. Despite missing the previous two games due to an ankle injury, Dion Waiters is finally looking like the superstar that he was always destined to be. Over his last eleven games, Waiters posted an average of 20.6 PPG. He is blossoming into a leader for this young team and is becoming a fan favorite in the process. Waiters made me a believer after this game-winner versus Golden State:
Will the Heat be able to keep this up? I don’t know, but they’re currently just one game out of the playoffs after an 11-30 start. That itself speaks volumes to how hard these guys are playing every night. Take notes, Knicks.