A week ago, I wrote that the Heat season was crumbling. We had all seen four terrible losses, and the blow-up in the timeout huddle featuring Erik Spoelstra, Jimmy Butler and Udonis Haslem may have laid bare frustrations that had been bubbling up.
It’s not a 4 game losing streak, it’s how they lost, who they lost to, what they looked like and the position they were in when they started losing plus the bench blow-up.— #StrusDPOY (@Alf954) March 27, 2022
It’s a perfect storm of shit and I don’t blame fans for panicking.
That seems so long ago now, right?
After their lengthiest losing streak of the season, the Miami Heat have rattled off four straight wins. Three of them came on the road against Eastern Conference playoff-bound opponents — the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors. Miami now holds a two-game lead for the top seed with just three games left.
this week > last week— X - Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 4, 2022
Jimmy Butler’s jump shot appeared broken. But in this winning streak, he’s made clutch mid-range jumpers and even knocked down a few 3s. The game in Boston last Wednesday resembled a playoff game the Heat will need to pull out. It was great to see Miami execute good offense down the stretch.
Last night in Toronto appeared to be a game the Heat would be OK losing to give some rotation players the night off. Butler, P.J. Tucker, Gabe Vincent and Dewayne Dedmon all sat out. But Victor Oladipo and Markieff Morris both offered good contributions, with Oladipo undoubtedly having his best game in a Heat uniform.
Dipo was a problem last night for the Raptors pic.twitter.com/PkrZZQHbup— X - Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 4, 2022
It’s too early to tell if Oladipo will re-enter the rotation for the playoffs — and he won’t make six 3s regularly — but it’s good to know that the two-time All-Star can provide a boost when called upon. Injuries, foul trouble or a bad slump (remember 2011 Mike Bibby?) could lead Oladipo to play big minutes for the Heat.
All throughout this season, Miami has responded to adversity. When Bam Adebayo needed right thumb surgery in early December, they appeared headed for .500 ball. But the Heat cobbled together wins, even when Butler missed time here and there. Miami responded to a three-game losing streak in early February and now responded to their four-game losing streak a couple weeks ago.
Kyle Lowry missed time due to injuries and personal reasons. When he played, he didn’t take many shots — up until recently. But it’s clear now that Lowry is still capable of scoring in bunches; he was just preserving himself for the “real season.”
The Heat look good with the playoffs right around the corner. That’s what you hope for this time of the year.