The Miami Heat will get back to business tomorrow night in Atlanta against the Hawks. The game will kick off the second half of a Heat season that has seen its fair share of mood swings on the way to a surprisingly pleasant 35-19 record. All in all, the first half of the season was a roaring success.
The Heat is the fourth seed in the East, three games behind the third-seeded Boston Celtics and a hefty four and a half games behind the Toronto Raptors. If the season ended tomorrow, the Heat would square off against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs.
That matchup would be exciting because the Sixers and Heat have a beef to settle. Here are a few reasons Philadelphia has quickly become Miami's archenemy.
Jimmy Butler just tried recruiting Joel Embiid to Miami on Instagram ????— NBA Buzz (@OfficialNBABuzz) February 11, 2020
Here we go! ???? pic.twitter.com/Xn4aWxdUJX
Jimmy Butler is publically trolling his former team, all while recruiting its best player. Jimmy Butler has a history of stirring up shit in the locker room. When it's someone else's shit inside someone else's locker room, however, it's a joy to watch. That's what Miami's All-Star guard has been doing since he left Philly this past offseason.
Last week, the 76ers' Joel Embiid took to Instagram to share a quote following a week full of criticism and friendly fire from his home crowd. Butler quickly pounced on the opportunity to offer a safe space for the seven-foot star and indicated that if Embiid needed a place to call home this offseason, Miami is nice that time of year.
Advantage, Butler. Using the Instagram comments section to mess with your former team is quite the long con. We respect it. Philadelphia probably doesn't.
Philadelphia and Miami could not be more opposite. Philly is one of those cities that loves to tell everyone how hard they work and how nothing is given, everything is earned. Miami — even with one of the highest costs of living in the nation — somehow is not given credit for such things. People are apparently born in South Florida, get rich, stay rich, and drink cocktails by the pool all day while waiting for the Heat game to start.
To most people, it's steelworkers versus so-called soy boys; Philadelphia is tough, while Miami is soft. It's only right that the two cities become rivals now that New York can't do anything worthy of a challenge.
Miami refused to lose purposely in order to build its team, while the 76ers did it so blatantly they gave it a name. The Heat refused — even when it made all the sense in the world — to tank an entire season in the name of a higher draft pick. Miami competes for better or for worse. Philadelphia, on the other hand, built the core of its team through what is labeled "The Process," meaning losing hundreds of games in an attempt to snag Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and a few players who didn't pan out at the top of the draft.
Two teams, two sets of organizational values. Miami finds capable NBA players at the YMCA and the G League. The 76ers lose in the hopes of more Ping-Pong balls at the draft lottery. To each their own.
Josh Richardson is a Miami Heat hostage being held in a Philadelphia prison. The only bad part about Jimmy Butler heading to Miami this summer was the fact that it meant Josh Richardson had to go to the 76ers in the sign-and-trade. Now, after spending his career marinating in the Miami Heat culture, Richardson is in the worst locker room in the NBA.
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It's tough to root for Richardson now that he plays for Miami's biggest rival. It's also tough to see a player Heat fans loved in a much worse setting than he was in Miami.
In the NBA's Eastern Conference, there can only be one true champion. When it comes down to it, the fact is that the 76ers are in the Heat's way when it comes to making it to the NBA Finals. That's reason enough for Philadelphia to be Miami's chief rival.
As of now, the Milwaukee Bucks are the top dogs, but on a day-to-day basis, it's the Heat's battling with the likes of the Sixers, Celtics, and Raptors that gets more attention. Right now, the 76ers seem to have that edge that rubs the Heat and its fans the wrong way. It's why we hope to see Philly in the playoffs so that one of these teams can claim some bragging rights. It'll only make the rivalry even better.