NBA Miami Heat

Miami Heat Preview: Looking Ahead At the Next 5 Games

1 of 6

A Long Road

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat started a four-game road trip Thursday night as they suffered their biggest loss of the season to the Chicago Bulls. Along with a two-game slide, the defending champs have been without star guard Dwyane Wade. “Flash” has missed the last two games with sore knees and an illness.

As Miami prepares for the second game of their trip around the Midwest it is uncertain if and when Wade will play. You have to expect him to miss at least one of the next five games since the champions have back-to-backs on December 7 and 8. The Heat would really like to have Wade back alongside LeBron James because Miami is 2-3 without “Flash”.

With the Eastern Conference in such poor shape, Miami finds themselves tucked into second place at 14-5. They have to stay on top of their game, though, because the Indiana Pacers are red hot at 17-2 and show no signs of slowing. If the Heat want a shot at the best record in the NBA they will have to go through the Pacers.

Some players will have to step up for Miami, such as Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Ray Allen, but most of all Chris Bosh. Bosh is currently averaging the second lowest numbers of his career at 14 points and five rebounds a game. The leading big man must step up and do his part.

The next five games won’t be easy for the Heat as they have been known to struggle against average and subpar teams. There is one game that will soak up the NBA spotlight and media attention, but I won’t spoil the surprise; you will just have to keep reading.

Shane Phillips is a Miami Heat Writer for Follow Shane on Twitter @Smphil01, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

2 of 6

Dec 7 at Minnesota Timberwolves

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves are certainly a trap game for the Heat as the defending champs continue their road trip. At 9-10, Minnesota is a team to keep an eye out for. With talent like Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin, they have the ability to increase Miami’s skid to three games. They will have to come out of the gates fast to get an early jump on the Timberwolves.

3 of 6

Dec 8 at Detroit Pistons

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In the second game of a back-to-back, Miami will travel to the Palace of Auburn Hills to take on the Detroit Pistons for the second time in less than a week. The Pistons ended the champs' 10-game winning streak but did not face Wade. It’s possible Wade will miss this game because it is part of consecutive games, but this is also another trap game for the Heat.

4 of 6

Dec 10 at Indiana Pacers

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami will cap a four-game road trip with a battle of Eastern supremacy as they take on the Indiana Pacers. It is the first time the two teams will meet this season, and it should be a great game. Since Wade played so poorly against the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, I expect him to play with a chip on his shoulder. This is most likely the preview of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals.

5 of 6

Dec 14 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

With the road trip over, Miami will return home for a few days of rest before taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers at home. In the first meeting between the two teams, the Heat won 95-84. It will be the first game of a long homestand for the champs at the American Airlines Arena, and after an extended rest period they should be at full force for an easy win.

6 of 6

Dec 16 vs. Utah Jazz

Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Miami will get a nice and easy game against the hopeless Utah Jazz before playing host to Indiana. It should be another easy victory for the Heat, but they can’t look ahead to the Pacers. We have seen Miami lose to bad teams before.