3 Teams worse than the Miami Heat despite their record

The Miami Heat are on the fringe of a tight playoff race in the Eastern Conference, but there are some higher-seeded foes that Miami may still have an advantage over, despite the records.
Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks
Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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The Miami Heat are arguably the most deceiving team in the entire NBA. During this Jimmy Butler era that began in 2019, basketball fans have witnessed this gritty Heat team make multiple deep playoff runs.

They have done this in all different types of seedings. In 2020, the Heat made the NBA Finals as a fifth seed. In 2022, the Heat came within a shot of the Finals as the No. 1 seed and then made the Finals as an eighth seed the following season. 

Coach Erik Spoelstra has led by example for this group of guys, making the entire roster buy into the “we have enough” mentality no matter the seeding or players available. Miami has been counted out and unnoticed by national media coverage for a long time now.

During last year’s improbable and historic run, Butler and his teammates made it known they like to fly under the radar. This is an underrated core of motivated and connected basketball players built for postseason success.

Miami's greatest successes include taking down teams with better records when it matters most. This year, the Heat are better than their record may suggest and opposing teams know they can't overlook this seasoned team.

Let’s go over three strong Eastern Conference squads that Miami has the edge over, despite their records.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers

Jimmy Butler, Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert
Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages

On Wednesday night, the Miami Heat played the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road in what ended up being a great game and an important win.

Both teams had their runs throughout the game and were missing multiple key players due to injuries. The Heat didn’t have the services of Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Kevin Love. The Cavs were also without Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus, Evan Mobley and Dean Wade. 

Miami ended up holding on for a tight 107-104 victory, improving to 2-1 against the No. 3 Cavs for the season.

Both of these wins against Cleveland this season have come with the Heat missing notable core guys. The Cavs have had regular season success during their two-year Donovan Mitchell era, but last season they were bounced out of the first round by the New York Knicks despite having homecourt advantage. Granted, they were dealing with some injuries to their frontcourt, but a team led by an All-Star duo of Mitchell and Darius Garland should have put up a better fight.

Based on Miami's regular-season success against Cleveland over the years and the Cavs' playoff inexperience and injury problems, it wouldn't be surprising if pundits picked the Heat to beat the Cavaliers in a hypothetical series.