By winning six of the last seven games at AmericanAirlines Arena, the Miami Heat are now in second place of the Eastern Conference with a 9-4 record. Pretty good right? In fact, since LeBron James took his talents back to Cleveland, Miami has never looked better. But this early season success, especially at home, is not just a result of a great team playing together but also of a relatively easy schedule.
During the seven-game homestand, the Heat has played only two teams with more wins than losses this year, Toronto and New York. Overall, the combined record of Miami's last seven opponents as of right now is 36-65. What does it mean? It means that Erik Spoelstra and his players did what they had to do on their home-court, especially when you consider the high expectations Miami has for this season.
For a squad as talented as the Heat, there is no glory in beating the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers, arguably the two worst teams in professional basketball right now. There is little glory either in winning over the DeMarcus Cousins-less Sacramento Kings (who are 0-5 without him by the way) or the Rudy Gobert-less Utah Jazz, even though Dwyane Wade didn't play against Gordon Hayward and company. To go a step further, an argument could be made that the Heat should have gone 7-0 when you consider the fact that Miami lost to an improved but very beatable Minnesota Timberwolves team.
To be fair, the Heat is still a work in progress so nobody should expect perfection right now and some bumps in the road are inevitable. But even in victories, Miami didn't always play well during this seven-game homestand, especially on offense where the Heat had some turnovers issues (do you remember the awful first half against the Sixers in which the Heat fell behind by 17 points?).
So clearly, despite the 6-1 record, Miami didn't look particularly impressive and it's way too early to consider the Heat a top contender again in the East. But the good news is we will find out what the Heat is really about during the first two weeks of December, when the schedule gets much tougher.
From December 3 to 14, Miami will play Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Washington, Memphis at home, and against Charlotte, Indiana, Atlanta on the road. Good luck with that!