Miami Heat’s Path Through Eastern Conference Not An Easy One

Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker (17) defends Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21)(Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker (17) defends Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21)(Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Duncan Robinson #55 of the Miami Heat goes up for a layup against Alex Caruso #6(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Miami Heat: To Put It Mildly, The NBA’s Eastern Conference Is A Loaded One

The Chicago Bulls are neck-in-neck with the Heat for the top spot in the East (with Chicago now having a half-game lead on Miami, as the Heat didn’t play on Thursday night). They have battled injuries throughout the season and still maintained a top position in the conference.

Chicago Getting Healthy At The Right Time

But Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso will return by mid-March, while Patrick Williams should return at the end of the year. During the All-Star break, Zach LaVine said his knee is feeling better after missing three games before the break.

The injuries also allowed players like rookie guard, Ayo Dosunmu, to play critical minutes and become a reliable threat off the bench. Surviving injuries and stumbling across gems on the roster makes the Bulls a real danger.

Veteran Teams Waiting To Pounce

The Toronto Raptors are sitting in the play-in tournament and loaded with talent from multiple playoff runs. The roster holds Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby, all players who were a part of a championship run and pushed the team to the postseason two years ago.

The Boston Celtics, too, have multiple players that have been key to several postseason runs, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals back during the NBA Bubble. Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart can lead the Celtics back into a fighting position.

Both rosters are getting hot for a push to close out the year, which is always the right time. The Raptors are 8-2 over their last 10 and the Celtics are 9-1.

So, everything is still before the Miami Heat to go out and achieve but they have to do it. It won’t be easy as the rest of the conference is loaded too.

And by the way, Milwaukee wasn’t even mentioned that much here. That should say a ton in itself.

They are certainly still lurking and a top contender to, not only, win the East but the whole thing again.

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It might just be brutal as brutal can get. But, if anyone is up for it, it’s a Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, and P.J. Tucker-built Miami Heat team.