While Miami has been occupying the top spot for the majority of the season, the regular season part of the 2021-22 campaign is nearing its conclusion. This is the part of the year when games matter the most though.
If the Miami Heat want to secure home-court throughout the Eastern Conference half of the playoff bracket, they have to win the majority of these final 11 contests. Unfortunately, two of Miami’s toughest remaining games are the next two.
That includes a one-game road trip to Philly. However, that is then followed by a home stand against the Golden State Warriors.
Though, they’ll be without Steph Curry when they visit the Heat.
The Miami Heat are questing for the NBA Title, which may include a quest for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. If so, their next two games are huge.
When James Harden and Joel Embiid are playing at their peaks, the 76ers look like title favorites and although the Warriors just lost Stephen Curry for the foreseeable future, they are still a deadly team with championship aspirations.
These two battles will be a true test for the Heat. If they win both, they are nearly locked into the top seed.
If they lose to Philly, Miami opens the door ever so slightly. If they lose both, the Miami Heat will have their work cut out for them over the last three weeks of the season.
What makes these games even more important is the status of Jimmy Butler, who missed Friday’s win over the Thunder. If he is unable to go in against the 76ers and Warriors, Miami is starting behind the eight ball already as they head into those two contests.
When it comes to winning time at the end of the season, a team’s best player needs to be healthy and right now, the Heat don’t have that luxury. Thankfully, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro have been picking up significant slack over the past few weeks.
That helps there a ton. Kyle Lowry’s outburst, of sorts, in Friday’s win should also play a part to pick up the slack—or adds to the battalion if they are at full tilt.
Although these next two games are crucial, the remainder of the schedule looks relatively light. If Miami can survive their next two, it should be smooth sailing to an inevitable top seed in the East.