Miami Heat: 5 Toughest Matchups As Season Comes To A Close

The Miami Heat bench reacts to a dunk by Kendrick Nunn #25(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
The Miami Heat bench reacts to a dunk by Kendrick Nunn #25(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Miami Heat
Andre Iguodala #28 of the Miami Heat forces a jump ball with Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Can the Miami Heat exert their dominance over their conference again this season?

The Miami Heat had the Milwaukee Bucks’ number in the playoffs last year, but can they dial it up again? There will be a wall, that’s all anybody can be certain of.

2. Milwaukee Bucks

After absolutely dismantling them in last year’s Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, the Heat are looking at a still-competitive Milwaukee Bucks roster, while each team has traded blows in back-to-back outings in late December. Milwaukee defeated Miami 144-97 in their first season matchup on December 29th, while the Heat countered with a 119-108 victory of their own in the following game.

In the past half-year, the Bucks have acquired several veteran assets to help along two-time Most Valuable Player winner, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Those guys are P.J Tucker, Jeff Teague, and Jrue Holiday — who just signed a five-year and $134 million dollar extension in early April.

Milwaukee is hanging on to the third seed in the Eastern Conference and are two games ahead of the New York Knicks. With the East being tight, all of these games are important for every team in the mix.

1. Philadelphia 76ers. 

The Sixers won both regular season matchups with the Heat, one of which was a, 137-134, overtime thriller. They’ll play the Heat in their final regular season matchup on May 13th.

Joel Embiid, undeniably a top-two 2020-21 Most Valuable Player candidate, is continuing to make his case in this season’s final stretch by leading the 76ers to a 39-19 record and a top-seed in the Eastern Conference. And even after missing three weeks due to a knee injury, Philadelphia’s superstar big man continues to prominently abuse his matchups.

In his last five games, Embiid is putting down averages of 35.4 points and 12.8 rebounds. Those are beastly figures.

The Heat will need their own All-Star Center, Bam Adebayo, to match Embiid’s intensity. Looking ahead a bit, a postseason matchup between the two dominant interior threats would create marquee television, for the record.

In support of Embiid, fellow All-Star, Ben Simmons, could perhaps bring home NBA Defensive Player of The Year honors, while new additions Danny Green, Dwight Howard, Seth Curry, and Head Coach Doc Rivers have help to cement Philadelphia into a potential championship contender.

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The Miami Heat, again, don’t have any cupcakes on their remaining schedule. Every game is an important one and against a team capable of beating them.

They need to know this, remain aware of it, and act accordingly.