There is an old saying, “Don’t make sense of it, just let it happen and enjoy”. This is the motto for the Miami Heat’s winning streak. Miami’s fell for the first time in 13 games Saturday night in Philadelphia. This improbable streak started when the Heat’s record was 11-30. They now own the longest winning streak for a sub .500 team in NBA history. Gone are the days where Head Coach Eric Spoelstra had the luxury of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. He now must get the most out players like Wayne Ellington, Rodney McGruder, and James Johnson. Granted, he has talent in Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic plus up-and-coming guard Tyler Johnson so the cupboard isn’t all the way bare.
This Heat team has transformed into a fast-paced team raining threes from all over the floor. With the engine of Dragic leading the way racing down the court like he is in Phoenix all over again. Miami puts out a starting five of Dragic, McGruder, Whiteside, Ellington and the one and only Luke Babbitt. Spoelstra relies heavily on the bench trio of Dion Waiters, Tyler Johnson, and James Johnson. These guys are the glue that keeps the engine running for this high-powered offense. With the combination of strength, shooting, size and versatility. This has helped Miami go from a top lottery team to possibly make the playoffs.
Early in the season, the Heat were decimated with injuries to Justice Winslow and Dion Waiters. This caused McGruder and Ellington to play more minutes than expected. This also, propelled Tyler Johnson to become a second ball handler, another three-point shooter, and an above average defender who is near the top of the league for blocks at the guard position. Everybody was in shock when Miami matched the offer sheet (Including myself) that Brooklyn gave Johnson. Give Brooklyn credit they recognized how good his potential is by offering him a four-year 50-million-dollar deal. Once again, Pat Riley looks like a genius by matching that deal to re-sign the all-important guard from Fresno State who should be in the running for the sixth man of the year.
Last but not least is the monster in the middle Hassan Whiteside. He was once a first-round pick castoff playing overseas. Now, he’s to a sheer dominate force in the paint that can’t be stopped. Whiteside is abusing undersized centers to bad to the point where the opposing coach must alter his lineup to not have Whiteside single handily take them out of the game. Whiteside might be a brute down low but he isn’t too big to where you must slow your offense down just to cater to him this is perfect for an offense that wants to run you off the floor. Put Whiteside with Dragic, Johnson, Johnson, Waiters and Ellington and if you’re on a back to back good luck even thinking about trying to outscore this unit unless you’re the Warriors then this doesn’t apply to you.
The trade deadline is only a few days away and Miami does owe Phoenix a couple of first round picks. Miami treated us to the most improbable turnaround the league has seen. No one can take that away from them. Especially since they looked like a team willing to tank for a top pick. We should all applaud such effort, even if the Heat are hard to cheer for. Remember when they were the villains of the league a few short years ago?