The Miami Heat are playing at the high level they are known for throughout the NBA. After a shaky start to the season, which had many wondering if everything was okay in paradise, Miami has rebounded. At 11-3 and on a seven-game win streak, the Heat are second in the Eastern Conference behind the scorching Indiana Pacers.
With all of the offseason hype, the blockbuster trade for the Brooklyn Nets, the return of Derrick Rose to the Chicago Bulls and the ever-building pressure for Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks, the East has really fallen apart. The Nets continue to struggle with all the new pieces, the Knicks are crashing and burning and Rose will miss another season after another knee injury. The incredibly quick deterioration of what looked like a reborn East has been unpredictable, leaving only two contenders — Miami and Indiana.
LeBron James and the Heat are catching up to the Pacers, who are two games ahead of the defending champs at 13-1, but Miami can really make up some ground and possibly take the conference lead. Currently on a seven-game win streak, the Heat can easily stretch it to 14 games before facing off against Indiana.
Look at the schedule for Miami: at Cleveland Cavilers, at Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Bobcats, Detroit Pistons, at Chicago Bulls, at Minnesota Timberwolves, at Detroit Pistons and cap the four game road trip at Indiana.
The streak could easily get to 14 games before facing a threat. The chances of getting past the Pacers and increasing the streak to 15 are low because it is the final game in a long four-game road trip and players will be tired. The good news for Miami is the incredible depth of the bench and Erik Spoelstra may have found the antidote for Dwyane Wade.
Wade missed consecutive games to rest his knees, and since his return he has played in two games and has posted 27 points against the Orlando Magic and 21 points with 12 assists against the Phoenix Suns. “Flash” was found photo-bombing James after the win over the Suns with a cartwheel. Spoelstra seems to have found the right combination of rest and play for the All-Star guard, which will be crucial in this stretch.
There’s always the chance that Miami will underestimate one of these teams and lose what should be an easy win, but I feel confident about their chances to get the win streak to 14 before they put it to the test against the Pacers.