The Miami Heat are 9-14 on the season with a 5-9 record at home. Good thing for them, they are about to start a 6-game road trip away from home.
What happens on this 6-game western conference journey could define the rest of their season.
At 9-14, the Heat 1.5 games back of the Charlotte Hornets for the 8th spot in the East. But they are also only 5 games ahead of the Atlanta Hawks for last place in the East. That’s what makes a difficult road trip an important thing for this team.
The Heat will start the trip itself with a back-to-back beginning in Phoenix against the league-worst Suns (4-20). Then the next night against the surprisingly good L.A. Clippers (!6-8). Then Miami will have a two night stay in L.A. because they will then play LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers (15-9).
From there they play the Utah Jazz (12-13) who they beat by 2 points last week. Then, against a very good Memphis Grizzlies team (14-9) before another rematch against the Pelicans (13-13) who they also beat last week. That will wrap up a 6-game, 9-day trip for the Miami Heat.
We could try to guess what the record will be but who knows what team will show up for the Miami Heat. And who knows who will even play? If Goran Dragic returns during this time it helps their chances. Dragic did travel with the team for the trip.
- Hassan Whiteside did not make the initial travel (he’s expecting the birth of a child
- Wayne Ellington did not travel for personal reasons (unknown, to me at least)
- Dion Waiters will not travel or rejoin the team during the trip
But let’s look at the potential. If Miami stinks up this trip and goes 1-5, they will be 10-19 when it is done. That could be close to being 12th in the East. There are three teams in the East tanking with only 5 wins. But, if they do really well and let’s say go 4-2, they would be 13-15 on the season and probably teetering on the playoff line.
This trip could set the stage and the tone for the rest of the season. The Heat need to stay healthy and they need to come together. Maybe extra time as a team where they can spend some time dissecting things can help them come together to put some wins together. But besides the game in Phoenix, these are all tough games. And don’t confuse me, they will have to play well to win in Phoenix as well.
The next week and half will be a reality check for the Miami Heat. If they make it out of the trip without many casualties, they can make a playoff push. If not, they will have to fight and claw for a chance to get there and hope they are healthy enough to be able to do it.
It all starts Friday night at 9 PM EST in Phoenix.