At 11-12, the Heat remain below .500 for the time being, but with their lineup finally getting healthy, the team submitted a statement win over the Celtics in Boston on Friday night, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, who suggests that it may be premature to rule out last year’s two Eastern Conference Finals teams meeting again in that series this year.
“We never lost confidence in this group, in ourselves,” Jimmy Butler said after the victory, Miami’s fourth in five games. “We know what we’re capable of. We just have to go out and prove it. We’re not worried about anybody else, just the guys in our locker room and coaching staff, ownership, management. We have a long way to go but we can get there.”
Given that the Heat are still outside of the playoff picture in the East, tied for ninth in the conference, they’ll need to show more to be widely considered a serious threat to make it to the Finals. But the players in the locker room aren’t worried about what outside observers think the team can and can’t do.
“You got to think about it, we were No. 1 in the East (last season) and people didn’t even pay us any mind,” Bam Adebayo said. “Then being where we’re at now, they’re definitely not talking about us. The biggest thing for us is just stacking up the wins.”
Here’s more on the Heat:
- Victor Oladipo, who has been sidelined all season due to a knee injury, isn’t ready to offer a specific target date for his return, but said “hopefully soon” when asked when he might be ready to suit up, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. “We’ll see. It’s more of a day to day thing, how I feel and what we feel makes the best sense,” Oladipo said. “I trust our training staff and the people I work with as well, coming up with a solid plan and make sure I’m ready to go.”
- Although Oladipo and Omer Yurtseven remain on the shelf, the Heat are otherwise relatively healthy after fighting a serious battle with the injury bug during the first quarter of the season. Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel examines whether a handful of Miami’s reserves, including Haywood Highsmith, Duncan Robinson, and Nikola Jovic, will continue to see regular playing time now that the depth chart isn’t quite so thin.
- Friday’s win over Boston represented the first time in over a month that the Heat had Butler, Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, and Tyler Herro all available for the same game. As Winderman details in another Sun Sentinel story, head coach Erik Spoelstra is referring to that quarter as his “Big Four,” and they lived up to that moniker on Friday, scoring 99 of Miami’s 120 points.