To say the 2016-17 Miami Heat campaign has been a “rollercoaster of expectations” would be putting it - - mildly.
But here we are.
After starting the first half the season at 11-30 and at one point having the worst record in the entire NBA, the Miami Heat, who have won 21 of their last 26 games since now find themselves right in the midst of Eastern Conference playoff battle where the 6th, 7th and 8th playoff spots are up for grabs.
First the whole truth. Miami blew a golden opportunity to make serious head way toward vying for the number six seed by coming up short 102-98 to the Indiana Pacers Sunday night. Had the Heat won, that would've put them only a half game behind Indiana.
That said - - their upcoming five game homestead at AmericanAirlines Arena could more than make up for it.
It could also for all intents and purposes have the reverse effect as well.
It’s a homestand that is very much manageable in terms of opponents. In fact, the teams the Heat face in this five game spectrum all have a combined record of 141-186 (as of Monday). Of the five games, the only team that’s even above .500 is the Toronto Raptors and Miami just routed them this past Saturday night at home, 101-86.
Here is the schedule for the Heat’s five game homestand at the AAA:
Wednesday, March 15th: New Orleans Pelicans
Friday, March 17th: Minnesota Timberwolves
Sunday, March 19th: Portland Trail Blazers
Tuesday, March 21st: Phoenix Suns
Thursday, March 23rd: Toronto Raptors
Again the optics say this schedule is absolutely manageable. It’s up to the Heat, who are currently one game behind the Milwaukee Bucks, for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference to grab this opportunity. They have already defied so many odds the second half of this season.
Can this turn around continue? This homestand will answer many of those questions.