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Next two weeks for Heat crucial for season turnaround

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Despite struggles during the first half of 2014-15, there is still an open door for the Miami Heat to turn this season around and the next two weeks leading into the all star break may define that

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David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The next two weeks for the Miami Heat presents itself with loads of opportunity. Currently Miami sits in the 7th slot in the Eastern Conference and with a huge road win on the national stage over the Chicago Bulls this past Sunday, the emergence of Hassan Whiteside (we can't stop talking about this kid) -- the Heat are now in a pretty precarious position to right some wrongs as Miami enters the second half of this season.

Say what you will about this current Heat team. Yes, it has been at times better than we thought we anticipated but more often than not they have dropped far below expectations as the season has waned.

We can always blame injuries obviously. Dwyane Wade has missed ten games this season. Chris Bosh an additional eight. Even Chris Andersen has missed significant time and most notably one of last summer's free agent acquisitions Josh Mc Roberts never stood a chance to truly make an impact on the Heat rotation with a season ending injury to his right knee.

Point guard play for Miami this season has also been dreadful to say the least. Norris Cole has been a disappointment most of the season and Mario Chalmers, who at one point at the beginning of the season had a defined ala "6th man role" as Wade's backup has been tapped on again to be the starter at the point to stop some of the bleeding at the position. Shabazz Napier of course has been in and out of the rotation including a few short stints into the D-League due.

Here's the bottom line: Miami can still make impact in the Eastern Conference. It is the East. While it might be a bit much to grab a top 5 seed especially with the Cleveland Cavaliers seemingly putting it all together in recent weeks that unless one of the top five teams in the East begins to fade the second half of the season that the battle for the 6 seed is much more realistic and it starts tonight with the team that currently holds that position in the Milwaukee Bucks. Looking ahead at Miami's remaining games before the all star break the schedule breaks down like this:

Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday, January 27 2015 7:30 PM EST coverage Tickets
Dallas Mavericks Friday, January 30 2015 8:00 PM EST coverage Tickets
FEBRUARY
Boston Celtics Sunday, February 01 2015 1:00 PM EST coverage Tickets
Detroit Pistons Tuesday, February 03 2015 7:30 PM EST coverage Tickets
Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday, February 04 2015 8:00 PM EST coverage Tickets
San Antonio Spurs Friday, February 06 2015 9:30 PM EST coverage Tickets
New York Knicks Monday, February 09 2015 7:30 PM EST coverage Tickets
Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday, February 11 2015 8:00 PM EST coverage Tickets

Yes there are some challenging games on the schedule vs. the Dallas Mavericks, the defending champion San Antonio Spurs and another date with LeBron and the Cavs to lead into the all star break. But given how much better the Heat have responded on the road this season and five of the next eight games are outside the confines of American Airlines Arena vs. a few sub .500 opponents, it's realistic that the Miami Heat can actually climb back to .500 before their 9 day lay off.

What do you think?