3 Things Heat fans should root for, 2 to root against to close season

Here are five things Miami Heat fans should be rooting for as the team makes its final playoff push.

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat
Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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Eight games left. This is the final stretch. The final countdown. The last bit of cute regular-season basketball before we get into the meaty postseason. But the Miami Heat still have some work to do.

Not so much dotting I’s and crossing T’s. The Heat didn’t do enough of their homework ahead of time for that. No, the Heat are more like a high school junior cramming for a test 15 minutes before class starts. But, hey, sometimes that student still aces the test, especially if that student has been tested as much as Erik Spoelstra, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

So as the NBA regular season winds down over these last couple of weeks, some things still need to happen for the Heat to get positioned for another deep playoff run. Here are three things Heat fans should be rooting for, and two things they should be rooting against.

5. Root for Jaime Jaquez Jr. to finish strong

Over his last six games, Jaquez is averaging 8.7 points on 40.8% shooting (22.2% on 3s), 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds. He has scored in double-digits in more than two straight games just once since the All-Star break. Those 13-game stretches of averaging 17.5 points on 53% shooting (as he did from Nov. 20 to Dec. 16) feel distant.

Right now, it’s unclear if Jaquez would crack Erik Spoelstra’s playoff rotation. Has he been better than Caleb Martin or Haywood Highsmith? Over the last couple of weeks, the answer has been No. 

Jaquez has eight games to steady himself for the playoffs and punctuate a promising rookie season with an exclamation point.

Besides earning playing time in the postseason, a strong finish could provide a runway to a leap in his second season. We’ve seen players trampoline from strong finishes to a rookie year into stardom, like Oklahoma City’s Jalen Williams. Finishing the season strong would leave Jaquez and the Heat feeling much better about their future together.