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This Miami Heat team is consistently inconsistent

Time is running out for the Heat to turn this season around.

NBA: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The only reliable trait of the 2022-2023 Miami Heat is that they’re consistently unreliable.

They’re that friend of yours who you can’t quite give up even if you know they’ll eventually let you down.

They’re that voice at the back of your head convincing you on a Sunday night that the upcoming week will be the onset of a better and healthier version of yourself, only for you to end up having a cookie by 3:00PM on a Monday afternoon.

They’re the classic sports team that shows all the signs of being mediocre, only you might refuse to believe it because of past success or for the slim chance that despite years of tangible evidence, they could just be one of the few teams in NBA history to defy the odds and get out of purgatory.

This isn’t that. And if reading that line still feels like a cold splash of water on your face, then you haven’t been paying attention enough.

After securing a rather impressive road win against Philadelphia a couple of nights ago to snap what was turning into a season-shattering four-game losing streak, the Heat followed that up with a clunker of a home performance against the same opponent, only this time without their best player in Joel Embiid.

For one quarter Miami, in the running as one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA by every metric you can think of, matched Philly blow-for-blow.

But even as that transpired, there was the eerie feeling of “they’re about to go cold and get screwed, aren’t they?”

True enough: in the second period, the 76ers outscored Miami 37-15 and ran away with the victory.

It started a make-or-break stretch in the Heat’s schedule of six consecutive games at home against Eastern Conference playoff foes in similar “this might get really bad” fashion to a possible cordyceps outbreak in a fictional TV show where the planet gets thrown in disarray.

A little over-dramatic? Perhaps.

Just a little bit of semblance to the truth? Maybe.

Miami is 33-30. They’ve been leapfrogged by a New York Knicks team which has won seven straight games in the standings and will be the next visitor they host in a now not-so-sunny basketball scene down in South Florida.

The Brooklyn Nets continue to slide down the standings, and with the way things are looking, Brooklyn’s own issues might be the reason Miami secures number 6 and avoids the play-in, rather than that manifesting thanks to their own merit.

Of course, that’s also assuming the Heat avoid collapsing to teams beneath them such as Atlanta, Washington, or Toronto, which remains a real possibility.

Dropping to here from being the top seed in the conference last season and one shot short of the NBA Finals is quite the downfall, and a sobering one at that. Life in the NBA moves fast.

It can make you appreciate the good times while they lasted, but also make you wish that you did so in more committed fashion while those days were transpiring.

There’s no longer half a regular season remaining to right the ship and no roster-saving trade to spark both interest and excitement for this team. The choice to stand pat during the deadline felt like a mistake then and it’s only been magnified since.

This is who they are. And who they are isn’t close to fulfilling what might have been the glorious preseason expectations that were justified by how they performed prior.

No one on the roster can be trusted to put forth a consistent shooting display from deep.

Gabe Vincent’s inconsistent jumper raises questions on whether or not Kyle Lowry should return to the starting unit when he’s healthy again, and given how he’s underperformed this season, that’s quite a disappointing performance development out of Vincent.

Lowry and Duncan Robinson are making nearly a combined $50 million this season and there are legitimate concerns if they can be trusted upon as role players. Robinson hasn’t even sniffed playing time as of late.

Tyler Herro hasn’t progressed into the kind of consistent weapon the Heat need him to be every night.

Max Strus can play like he’s worth eight figures per season on some nights then remind you why he went undrafted on other evenings.

Kevin Love and Cody Zeller have provided their best since arriving in Miami, but neither is enough of a game-changer to propel Miami past where they currently stand.

Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, god bless their souls, are doing everything they can while receiving minimal help from the supporting cast, but even that isn’t enough to catapult this team in the same conversation as Boston, Milwaukee, or even Philly.

It’s also time to ask this question: if any other front office made the same moves that Miami did over the past few seasons, wouldn’t they be at the hot seat at this point?

Things look bleak. The finish line is coming soon.

Maybe it’s a good thing.