Miami Heat: The March to the Playoffs

In their third game of the season, they were blown out by the Milwaukee Bucks 144-97, a team they defeated 4-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals the prior season. Everyone was shocked that a team they beat in 5 games, beat them by 47 and set an NBA record for most 3s in a game; however; Jimmy Butler was out with a sprained ankle. 

The team went 3-2 in their next 5 games losing to the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks. Then came the tweet that changed the course of the season.  

Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Avery Bradley, Goran Dragic, Mo Harkless, Udonis Haslem, Kendrick Nunn, and KZ Okpala were all ruled out of the Philadelphia game the next day due to Health and Safety Protocols.

Luckily everyone besides Butler and Bradley were available within the next few games as players were usually only in Protocol for a game or two But as the games went on and Jimmy was still in Health and Safety Protocol, everyone quickly released that he was not in quarantine because he came in contact with COVID-19, he was in isolation, because he had it. The team lost 8 out of their next 10 without him. Their record became 7-12 from December 23, 2020-February 1, 2021. 

Butler’s return did result in the Heat winning 11 out of 12 games, losing to the Hawks in the middle of a 6 game streak (the team then went on to win 4 in a row). This placed them in 4th place in the East. The most current 6 game losing streak resulted in the Heat falling to the 8th seed. The most notable loss was a 27 point loss to the Indiana Pacers, a team they swept in the first round last season.

So what happened? How did a team that was so hot in the bubble start losing to teams they blew out a season before? Sure you can say the Miami Heat are “bubble flukes”, but it’s ignorant to do so. 

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