It would be a shame not to see more of the Miami Heat.
This team has pulled together and overcome a hideous start to the season. But the Heat are still just a bit shy of claiming a berth in the NBA playoffs and only one game remains in the regular season.
It’s not so long ago the Heat and their Big Three went not only to the playoffs but to the NBA Finals four consecutive times, winning a pair of titles. But LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dwyane Wade left for the Chicago Bulls and Chris Bosh’s health issues regarding blood clots left him unable to pass a physical. The Heat weren’t so much regrouping as groping in the dark. But their plan to get better took form.
When the Heat topped the crumbling Cavs 124-121 in overtime on Monday night, the team pulled its record to 40-41 and set the stage for one last shot at the playoffs. A loss would have meant elimination. Now the Heat must beat the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night and either the Bulls or Indiana Pacers must lose. Then Miami could get the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference. If both lose and the Heat win, the Heat would steal the seventh seed.
Miami came from 11 points down to beat Cleveland, just as it resurrected itself after an 11-30 start to the season.
Coach Erik Spoelstra called it “survive and advance,” talking mostly about the Cleveland game but certainly thinking of the way the Heat stumbled at the beginning and then began to coalesce.
The only thing the Heat control is winning on Wednesday. And it would be fun to see this team get a chance to do a little more of that.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman