Feb 18, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Eastern Conference center Bam Adebayo (13) of the Miami Heat reacts after a play during the first half of the 73rd NBA All Star game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Heat Surge Into All-Star Break

The Miami Heat entered the 2023-2024 season with lofty expectations coming off of an NBA Finals appearance but struggled to find consistency. Now, coming out of the All-Star break, they look to finally mesh.

Early Success for Heat

The Heat began the season in playoff form, rattling off wins at an unprecedented rate. Miami went 9-1 in a ten-game stretch from November 3-22 and seemed to be clicking on all-cylinders. A big reason for that early success was the arrival of rookie guard Jaime Jaquez Jr.

The UCLA product was selected with the 18th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, but was initially looked at as a rotation player at best. After averaging only 5.3 points per game in October, he jumped into the limelight in November with 24, 22 and 20-point performances, en route to averaging 13.8 points per game for the month. Jaquez Jr.’s production has slowed down in the new year as the Heat have begun to struggle. He joined Bam Adebayo as the only Heat players participating in All-Star festivities.

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New Year, New Team

After a strong start to the season, the Heat entered January with a 19-13 record. That quickly disappeared.

The Heat lost seven games in a row at one point, leaving January with a 25-23 record and, at one point, having dropped out of the projected playoff bracket. During that stint, which featured defensive challenges, among other issues, the Heat added Terry Rozier in hopes of jump-starting their team. He struggled to get going, with his scoring production dipping in his first five games on the team.

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Now, after a rough run through January, the Heat seem to be getting back on track. They’ve won six of their last eight games, beating the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers before heading into the break. Additionally, Rozier has begun to flourish in the Heat system, scoring double digits in each of his last five games.

The Road to the Playoffs

The Heat sit at 30-25 with 27 games remaining in the season. They currently hold the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference while being 8.5 games above the playoff bubble.

In past years, the Heat have thrived with lower seeds. During last year’s playoff run, the Heat were an eight-seed but still managed to make their way to the NBA Finals. Heat guard Jimmy Butler thinks the Heat play so well when they’re underdogs because of their mindset. He explained, in the past, the way the Heat approached playoff games.

“Stay consistent. Do the same thing that I do, that we do, after every game.”

The Heat will look to lock into that mindset again as they enter the final stretch towards the playoffs.

About Noah White

I'm a freshman at the University of Florida, majoring in journalism and public relations. I enjoy playing soccer and volleyball with friends, watching movies with my girlfriend and, of course, writing. I also know more about Liberty League women's soccer than you do.

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