As a result of the NBA’s COVID-forced shutdown, no playoff team lost out on playing more games against NBA retreads than the Heat. So instead of closing the season with heavy doses of the Knicks, Hornets, Pistons, and Bulls - which was the pre-pandemic plan - Miami instead faces a daunting schedule in its attempt to hold onto the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Heat’s eight-game schedule of seeding games will be played over 14 days, beginning with Denver on Saturday, August 1 at 1 p.m. The rest of the games include two games against Indiana and also single games against Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston, Oklahoma City and Phoenix. Below is the Heat's official schedule for the resume in Orlando.
The Heat are one of the toughest teams in the playoff format and shouldn't be bothered by their tough opponents. The Heat have won 2 out of the 2 games they played against the Bucks, Pacers and the Raptors. With the Celtics it's a different story. The Heat have lost both meetings against the Celtics this season. The Heat are capable of beating each team as they have beat the best team in the league twice, but the Heat would obviously prefer to have easier opponents. The easiest opponent the Heat will face will be the Phoenix Suns.
Miami, which has clinched a playoff spot, enters seeding play fourth in the East at 41-24, two games ahead of No. 5 Indiana and No. 6 Philadelphia and 2.5 games behind No. 3 Boston. The seeding games will determine playoff matchups, with Miami now positioned to play the Pacers if the current standings hold. One positive thing about playing the Pacers in the playoffs will be because the Heat have a feel for them. The Heat have played the Pacers twice and have won both games. The Heat will also play the Pacers another two times in the 8 regular season games.
Isaac Edelman covers the South Florida sports teams and the Mets as well as other breaking news stories and opinions on Major League Baseball, the NBA, NFL, and the NHL on his SportsCastr live streaming channel.
Here's what Heat players have had to say about their upcoming schedule:
The Heat are entering Orlando with the fourth spot in the East and with the hardest 8 games out of any team, but Miami is emerging from the stoppage feeling as confident as a favorite.
“I like our chances just as good as anybody or better,” Heat forward Udonis Haslem told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on The Jump. “We probably have a better chance than anybody. Now it’s mental. You talk about a mentally tough team. There’s no more mentally tough team or organization in the NBA. I like our chances just as good or more than anybody.”
Duncan Robinson admits it will be challenging not to play at AmericanAirlines Arena, where the Heat were 27-5. On the road, the Heat were 14-19.
“We love playing in our home arena, having fans and that support,” Robinson told WSVN-Fox’s Steve Shapiro. “It will be a great challenge as a younger team. That will be the ultimate test.”
The Miami Heat are one of the most ready teams heading into Orlando and shouldn't be affected by their tough schedule. Jimmy Butler has playoff experience from the 76ers and should lead the young Heat team! Bam Adebayo is having a breakout year and should continue his success in the playoffs. Worst case scenario, if the Heat have trouble in the 8 games they play, the Heat have already clinched the playoffs. The Heat should be dominant in the playoffs with one of the best playoff coaches in Erik Spoelstra. The Heat also have Andre Iguodala who is a former NBA Finals MVP. No Heat fan should be worried about the Heat in the playoffs as the Heat are a resilient and hard working team.