Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where the Miami Heat Go From Here

As of March 26th, the Miami Heat dropped from a 5th seed to a 6th seed in the Eastern Conference playoff ladder. It was a result of losing two straight games to sub-par teams in the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls. These were two games that were not "must wins," but rather "should wins" when you take into account Miami's capabilities. 

If you take a look at the team's predictions I made earlier on you will find that the Heat have played close, but not equal, to my projections. The conservative regular season record I predicted was 45-37, while the more ideal prediction was 49-33. With 11 games left at this point and the Heat's record standing at 38-35, it seems that the Heat might not even reach the 45-win mark.

If the Heat do not secure the 5th seed and stay at a 6th or 7th spot, we are likely to see a first round exit. This is where you weigh the two options of looking at things in an idealistic or realistic way. If we play the Boston Celtics or the Orlando Magic in the first round, I don't see us having a fair chance by any stretch of the imagination. It's always fun to imagine a huge upset like that, but we do not have Boston's number and surely cannot take a dose of Dwight Howard for a whole playoff series. We're not talking about the infamous Knicks versus Heat upsets that occurred in the 1990's. We're talking about established dominance versus a fledgling up-and-comers. It's wishful thinking.

Now if we end up playing the Hawks, there is a decent chance that Miami can give Atlanta a run for their money. The Hawks may have beat the Heat quite a few times this season, but it's not like they have a key player that can dominate the Heat on any given night (i.e. like King James, KG, and Superman). In that scenario I will not count Miami out, but in the Cleveland, Boston, or Orlando situations I will have to concede to the greater teams and not expect a Cinderella story to unfold. But then again, you never know...

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