The Miami Heat closed the All-Star break losing 7 of 8 games and dropping to 30-28 after being 8 games over .500 at once. But they also acquired Dwyane Wade and are sitting at the 8th seed in the East.
So with 24 games left, what’s ahead for the Miami Heat?
First, they have 15 home games and 9 road games left. That’s good. Even though they have been a good road team, they could use some time at home to get some wins. And they will have a 5 game home stand after their game in New Orleans to begin play after the break.
13 of those 24 games are against teams not currently in the playoff seedings. Only four of those game are against top 4 seeds (TOR, CLE and 2 vs WASH). The Heat, although 8th are only 3.5 games behind Washington for 4th. They currently have split two games with the Wizards.
Miami has one more west coast road trip, a 3 games in 5 days in Portland, Sacramento and L.A. Lakers starting March 12.
The Heat should be nearly completely healthy when games resume. Obviously Dion Waiters is out for the season. But they expect Kelly Olynyk to be back and ready, and they also expect Rodney McGruder to be back very soon. No one else is dealing with significant injury
The Heat are running out of days on Derrick Jones Jr. and Derrick Walton Jr. who are operating on two-way contracts. It seems that Miami will probably have to let them go when those run out.
The Heat expect to be in conversations with buy-out candidates when that happens near March 1. However, they need to be in good playoff standing for players to want to consider them. And they would also need to waive yet someone else to make room for them on the roster. It’s unclear at this point. But it seems most likely that it would be Jordan Mickey who hasn’t played regularly. The Heat do have some money to spend on a buyout player if they choose to do so.
He’s back and there is a new and real energy that has come with him. You can’t measure it. But it also seems that Wade has made his way quickly into the Heat’s closing unit. That should be a good thing down the stretch.
The Heat have some winnable games in front of them, so let the closing stretch begin!