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Miami Heat’s resurgence earning critical praise

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Heat are becoming the “Rocky” story of the NBA. Can they deliver the knockout punch?

Miami Heat v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

ESPN senior writer Zach Lowe listed the Miami Heat as his number one story of the week. He wrote:

“Enough with how this crazy streak is ‘bad’ for Miami -- how the Heat would have been better off tanking for a top-three draft pick. Are we incapable of fun? Are we all NBA technocrats now, all the time?”

“This is awesome. This is literally the most improbable prolonged winning streak in NBA history. This is why we follow sports: A group of castoffs sitting at 11-30 works, and works, and works, and suddenly lands upon a connective magic that carries them all to a higher plane.”

After losing out on the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, the abrupt departure of Heat icon Dwyane Wade, and dealing with All-Star Chris Bosh’s health concerns, the team wasn’t supposed to be this intriguing. At 23-30 Miami still has a long way to go before breaking even, but their current storyline fascinates.

Lowe compares them to a never-say-die boxer,

“They are like a boxer coming forward every second, throwing precise three-punch combinations at your nose. If you are not ready -- if you're tired, hungover, on the second end of a back-to-back -- they will run your ass off the floor.”

If there was an award for assistant coach of the year, Dan Craig would be in the running. His Sioux Falls Skyforce started off last season losing their first two games before going on a 40-8 tear and an eventual NBA D-League championship. They exhibited the same relentless energy and sharing of the ball as the current Miami squad.

“The Heat mean something again. They stand for something. Other players around the league notice how hard and smart Erik Spoelstra has this team playing. They respect it. That may not be enough to lure stud free agents under the new collective bargaining agreement, but it helps.”

This sudden resurgence after the signing of Okaro White remains a mystery, but putting the bulk of the ball-handling minutes in the experienced hands of Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters and James Johnson played a large part in the transformation from losing to winning. Rather than giving definitive amateur opinions on the causes, it’s best to give credit to where credit is due: the professional scouting and coaching staff of the Miami organization.

Meanwhile the Heat is still only 23-30, meaning that any victory celebrations are premature until the team can at least reach the .500 level of mediocrity. With only 29 games left to accomplish that task, the motivation remains in place to continue their winning ways.