5 Things Miami Heat Need to Do Before Playoffs
What Do the Miami Heat Still Need to Do Before Playoffs?
Miami boasts a league-leading winning percentage of 0.800 and have locked up the first overall seed in the conference. Their spectacular consistency has lifted them 12.5 games ahead of the second-seeded Indiana Pacers, and not a single team in the Eastern Conference looks to have the tools to take down the Heat. However, Miami’s season will ultimately be defined by their performance in the playoffs. With this team, it has always been and will continue to be all about championship or bust.
So far, almost everything has played out to perfection for Miami this season. LeBron James is the overwhelming favorite to take down yet another MVP award, Dwyane Wade has looked as good as ever and role players are stepping up. Ray Allen and Shane Battier have been terrific off the bench for the team, while Chris Andersen has offered a great deal of energy since joining the team mid-season.
With not much to play for in the final stretch of the season, there are a couple of things the Heat still need to address. As good as Miami is, you can always find ways to improve, and there are still several factors that need to be taken into consideration to ensure a successful postseason.
So what should Miami’s points of emphasis be for the last 12 games of the regular season? Continue reading to find out.
Beat the Los Angeles Lakers' Record
Miami is six games away from tying for the longest winning streak in NBA history, set by the Los Angeles Lakers. With the first seed in the conference locked up, the Heat have very little to play for in the final stretch of the regular season. With the incredible record within reach, the Heat need to make a push for it and surpass the 33-game mark.
Get Dwyane Wade Healthy
Dwyane Wade missed out on the 2012 Olympics, opting for knee surgery instead. He was ready for the start of the season and has made progress all year long. He was a little rusty out of the gate, but has been playing absolutely sensational as of late. Wade has missed the last two games with what seems to be a minor knee injury, and the Heat need their superstar to be healthy come playoff time.
Find Minutes For Mike Miller
Mostly due to the arrival of Ray Allen, Mike Miller has lost his regular spot in the rotation. As a result, his 3-point shooting percentage is significantly lower than it could be. In the absence of Wade, Miller has seen more minutes and proven that he can still contribute. He is always ready to jump in, as proven by his seven 3-pointers in game five of the 2012 NBA finals. By giving him more minutes in the final stretch of the season, Erik Spoelstra would ensure that his sharp-shooter is better prepared for playoff action.
Get Rid of Bad Habits
As impressive as the Heat have been in their 27-game winning streak, they have shown signs of some bad habits. In their last five games, they were forced to come back from a deficit, digging themselves a double-digit hole in four of them. Slow starts have been an issue lately and it is important to not make it a habit.
Rest the Big Three
Dwyane Wade is not the only one that has seen huge minutes this season. Both LeBron James and Chris Bosh have played big minutes all season long. As soon as the hunt for the winning streak record is out of the way, Erik Spoelstra needs to find ways to give his All-Star players some rest in order to keep them fresh for the postseason.
Vytis is a Miami Heat and NBA columnist for RantSports. You can follow him on Twitter here: @VytisLasaitis