You can say what you want, but the numbers don’t lie, this Heat team is legit and they have a real chance to make a lot of noise in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
If there was one team that you would want to put your money on, it should be Miami because in the beginning of the season they are already standing as the second-best team in the Eastern Conference only two spots behind the Cleveland Cavaliers.
A sign of a great team is the way they perform when they are down by 20 and 30 points. If you have a team that won’t give up and will play with effort while they are losing, then when they’re winning they’ll still compete with that same effort. Miami showed that no matter the circumstance that they won’t stop fighting. In fact, they did their best imitation of the Golden State Warriors when they played against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Warriors this season were trailing the Los Angeles Clippers by 30 points and came back to win the game. The Heat were down by 17 points to the Sixers and ultimately fought back and won the game.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 22, 2015
The reason why that many people are starting to get on the Heat bandwagon is because of the defense that this team plays. For example, that defense against the Sixers played out of their mind as the Heat ended up forcing 16 turnovers, allowed Philadelphia to shoot 37.8% from the floor and an even worse 32.3% from the three-point line.
The Heat are third in the league allowing only 92.9 points per game and are ranked No. 1 when it comes to opponents field goal percentage. The biggest reason for that is because of the front-runner for the Defensive Player of the Year award, Hassan Whiteside. His presence in the paint is too valuable and he creates havoc for any opponent attempting to get any type of layup or shot up at or around the rim.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 18, 2015
Whiteside is the type of player defensively that can guard both the passer and the scorer on an alley-oop play as he did against the Minnesota Timberwolves. You know someone’s a special talent when they can get triple-doubles like Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd while doing it with points, rebounds, and blocks instead of assists. Furthermore, as a player Whiteside has taken the next step with his game that everyone thought he would. Whiteside is leading the NBA in blocked shots per game swatting an insane 4.8 a night. Additionally, he’s also averaging a double-double of 14.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game too.
What’s been truly great to see is how well superstar, Dwyane Wade is playing during the twilight of his career. Wade looks back to his normal self but is playing with a certain type of vintage game. Wade is putting together another All-Star season averaging 18.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. What’s been so impressive about those stats that Wade is putting up is that he’s doing averaging only 29.9 minutes per game, which is a career-low in minutes per game.
Even teammate Chris Bosh has noticed his progression as a player and said this.
“He’s a carrier. He can play this game. He’s one of the best to ever play. He’s still in his prime. People forget that. When he comes to play every night, you have to be ready for that. He can still put this team on his back. He does it just in different ways now. That’s really the only difference” said Bosh.
Now the icing on the cake from this Heat team is the fact that Chris Bosh looks healthy and he’s ready to produce at a high-level again. Bosh, last season had his year cut short because of blood clots in his lungs. Before the beginning of the regular season though Bosh lamented that he had gotten better because he was more rested and had more time to lift, work on his game, and get conditioned for the season. The production on the court validates Bosh’s statements because this year he’s on his way to having another All-Star game appearance. Bosh is averaging more shot blocks than he did last season and he’s also rebounding better. His numbers this season are 18.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while posting a 23.08 PER. In the first twelve games, Bosh already has six double-doubles to his name.
If all three of these players are clicking together around the end of the season, the NBA will be in trouble. Whiteside’s numbers offensively are only going to increase. Wade’s numbers should hover around 22 points per night. While Bosh is on his way to having yet another stellar year. Those three and the combination of their teammates including Goran Dragic, Gerald Green Josh McRoberts, Justise Winslow, Luol Deng and Tyler Johnson and this is a squad that could dethrone Cleveland.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter@DJoumbarey.