Five Reasons the Miami Heat Turned Its Terrible Season Around

Five Reasons the Miami Heat Turned Its Terrible Season Around
Photo by Alex Broadwell

The Miami Heat used to be really, really bad. Way back in January 2017, the Heat was a putrid basketball team that had lost 30 of 41 games. People wanted Miami to start tanking. They said the Heat should trade Hassan Whiteside for Carmelo Anthony. They threw dirt on the season before it was confirmed dead.

Shame on you people! YOU'RE FAKE NEWS! The Heat's season isn't dead. Nope, it's a zombie season, and brains aren't what it desperately seeks. No, zombie Heat season wants all your wins. NOM, NOM, NOM.

The Heat's season has risen from the dead. Why? We aren't completely sure, but these are our best guesses.

Five Reasons the Miami Heat Turned Its Terrible Season Around
Photo by Amadeus ex Machina / Flickr

1. Home cooking

Eight of the Heat's ten straight wins have come at home. Nine of the 11 games prior came on an infamously bad circus road trip (that thankfully will never happen again), and the Heat lost ten of those games. This isn't rocket science, but if there were ever a place for a team to get its shit together, it would be on its home court.

Early in the season, the Heat stunk at home, but it's tough to judge a team with pieces thrown together that early in the year, for good or bad. A bit of sleeping in your own beds and a lot of sunshine seems to have gone a long way.

2. Dion Waiters was Dwyane Wade in his prime for all of January

Dion Waiters was the Eastern Conference Player of the Week from January 23 through 29. That's real life. Waiters averaged 23.3 points, 5.0 assists, and 4.5 rebounds in that crucial span that transformed the Heat from a dying dog to a team with a little hope.

Waiters had been battling injury all season, but since he has returned, he has been a star. For as long as this crazy-as-shit play lasts from Waiters, Miami will continue to pile up the wins.

3. The Heat turned into the 2015 Golden State Warriors on offense

OK, maybe we got a little carried away there, but the team got really good for a really long stretch. Through the end of January until last weekend, the Heat scored 100 points in 11 of 12 games, and in the game that didn't top the century mark, the score was 99.

During its ten-game winning streak, the Heat ranked eighth in offense in the NBA, routinely looking nothing like the team that started the season throwing frozen turkeys against the backboard. Slice Miami has a great breakdown of how the Heat picked up the offensive pace in January and whether it's a sustainable change or just luck.

4. Erik Spoelstra is still one of the GOAT coaches

If you give Coach Spo chicken shit, he makes chicken cordon bleu — just give him a few months. If you're not onboard with Spo being one of the greatest coaches in the NBA over the past decade, you're just not paying attention. There really isn't anything to break down here: Spoelstra and the Heat's culture matter. Players say it does. Coaches say it does. Media and front-office people say it does. It matters, and it's worth wins.

Spoelstra was basically the coach of the Bad News Bears to begin this season, and now the Heat is playing in the Astrodome.

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5. Goran Dragic didn't quit, so neither did his team

Goran Dragic takes a lot of shit. He came to Miami as a piece added to what was supposed to be a high-octane machine. But then all the other pieces disappeared like Marty McFly in Back to the Future. Dragic has been excellent almost all season, even when the Heat was the second-worst team in the NBA. Every night, he comes out gunning, and it finally wore off on some of the spare parts the Heat added this offseason.

Dragic might not be part of the Heat's future, but he has certainly been a major part of the team's present. He's bought into the Miami Heat culture and been an extension of Spoelstra on the court at a time when leadership was needed most.


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