The Miami Heat first hit rock bottom Saturday. The Heat had another shot at one of the Eastern Conference’s fringe playoff teams when the Detroit Pistons came to Miami, then the Pistons promptly pummeled the Heat to the tune of a 23-point win.
Miami hit rock bottom again Monday. This time, the Heat hosted the lowly Phoenix Suns, who brought the worst record in the Western Conference to AmericanAirlines Arena, then pulled out a 124-121 win against the Heat.
Just before the All-Star break, Miami seemed to have once again figured out a recipe for success, even if it wasn’t always yielding wins. Now the Heat (26-33) is multiple games out of the playoff picture, sitting in 10th place in the East behind even the Orlando Magic. It has gotten dark for Miami as the Heat’s playoff odds dwindle smaller each day.
On the Heat Check podcast this week, sports writer David Wilson and Anthony Chiang, the Miami Herald’s Heat beat writer, try to diagnose just what has gone wrong for Miami this week and whether there’s a solution for the Heat’s end-to-end woes. Will the return of point forward Justise Winslow, who missed the last two games with a knee injury, be what Miami needs to trigger a desparation push for the playoffs? Or is it time to look toward the NBA draft lottery and start dreaming of Duke Blue Devils power forward Zion Williamson?
The Heat’s recipe for success this season has never been simple, but Miami is suddenly running out of time to make its depth-and-defense formula work for a postseason push.
And it won’t get any easier for the Heat this week. First, the Golden State Warriors come to AAA on Wednesday as Miami closes out a quick three-game homestand. Then, the Heat hits the road Thursday for a one-game trip to take on the Houston Rockets. It’s officially do-or-die time for Miami and any playoff hopes it has left.